Awareness is not enough

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. The statistic that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime is being repeated over and over on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Awareness is awesome, but it’s not enough. Politicians are tweeting that they are raising awareness but what we really need is funding. We need more psychiatrists so that it doesn’t take a year to get in to see one. We need publicly funded therapy so that we can stay out of the hospital and keep working (and paying taxes!). We need mental health services that are as easy to access as a family doctor visit. We cannot continue to talk about awareness and continue to not fund treatment. The stigma of mental illness will never go away when our treatments are expensive; this makes them appear as an optional treat for the wealthy. It would save money to fund treatment; it’s time to do the math and get it right.

Bye Blue Jays

Blue Jays are out
The house is all quiet
I guess now’s the time
To go on a diet

No more peanuts
Or Cracker Jack
No more yelling
About a comeback

The Royals move on
To tackle the Mets
It’s now time for gamblers
To place their bets

But I’ll stay at home
And watch my Flames play
And hope that their season
Goes past mid-May

The Blue Jays were great
They are Canada’s team
And watching the postseason
Has been a fun dream

Review of Hyena Road

Zero Dark Thirty, Black Hawk Down, and Hurt Locker are three excellent movies that focus on the military. When I watched them I didn’t think about the fact that they are American, nor did it bother me. I’ve never thought about the lack of Canadian military in movies and TV because there has been so little for all of my life. But when I went to see Hyena Road yesterday afternoon with my teenagers, I realized that I’d been missing out. Seeing the fictional soldiers in the movie with Canadian flags on their uniforms brought out more national pride in me than our most successful Olympic games. The movie is “based on 1000 true stories” which made the three of us realize how much our fellow Canadians have sacrificed both for our country and for peacekeeping in the world. Paul Gross is a creative genius and in the midst of a somewhat ugly federal election right now, Hyena Road will make you stop and realize how truly great the men and women of our great country are. Seeing Canadian flags draped over coffins is a sight I wish was only in movies, but seeing them in the film reminded me of the times it has been real. The movie will also make you realize how much talent we have here in Canada for putting on an incredible show. I wanted to yell out, “This is Canada! These are our people!” through the whole show. Take a break from turkey and politics this weekend and go see it. 5/5

Canada Day

ImageOn July 1st, 1867, Canada became a nation. All school children in Canada learn about Confederation and everyone knows that Sir John A. MacDonald was our first Prime Minister. But it wasn’t until I read about Confederation again as an adult that I really appreciated the sacrifice that these men and their families made during the years before that great day in 1867.

Although the culture was different then, time went by at the same rate. We get impatient today if we have to wait until tomorrow for a contract to be signed. We whine when iTunes takes longer than five seconds to load and we can’t wait in line at the grocery store without playing on our phones.

The process of confederation took years (years!). For years these men met in small and large groups. For years they debated, criticized and pushed each other. For years they tried to do what many thought impossible – to get French and English Canada to come together. Many disagreed with them even trying. But they persevered.

 I think of their families, waiting at home for weeks, only to have their husband and father come home exhausted and miserable from another failed attempt. I can only respect and admire the women that stayed home while their husbands were gone, dealing with criticism of their friends and neighbours that disagreed with their husband’s politics.

To dream of something so much bigger than yourself and to make that dream a reality with incredible hard work and cooperation (sometimes with your enemies!), is what created our country. Today, and everyday, we get to be proud Canadians.