Toronto, ON May 1, 2012 – For the second consecutive year, The Salvation Army is announcing May as Dignity Month, and is releasing a report, “Canada Speaks 2012: Mental Health, Addictions and the Roots of Poverty.” The report reveals perceptions and attitudes among the Canadian public about individuals dealing with addiction or suffering from mental illness.
The survey of more than 1,000 Canadians, conducted in February by Angus Reid Public Opinion, revealed that many Canadians have been personally touched by the issue, with 80 percent reporting that they have either a friend or family member who has experienced mental illness and/or addiction. Due to this surprising number, many Canadians empathize with those that suffer from either mental illness and/or addiction and are looking to the government and social service programs to provide additional assistance to these individuals and their families.
Key findings from our report include:
• Most Canadians recognize the linkage between mental health and addiction with 71 percent agreeing that “a lot of people with addictions have mental health problems.”
• 80 percent of survey respondents reported their belief that mental illness causes many Canadians to experience poverty.
• 87 percent of respondents believe that mental illness should be a higher priority for the government.
• 84 percent of those surveyed think that there should be more services to help people with addictions.
“In previous reports that we have released, we have seen a Canadian public that hasn’t always been sensitive to, or didn’t understand the needs of vulnerable people in our society,” said Commissioner Brian Peddle, Territorial Commander for The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. “Our latest report revealed an entirely different population, one that is extremely empathetic to those struggling with mental illness and addiction and hope for a better and brighter future for them.”
The Salvation Army is highlighting the issue of mental illness and addiction this month as part of its annual May Campaign and the ongoing Dignity Project. Funds raised during the campaign will directly support those living in poverty today through social services like emergency shelter care, substance abuse counselling and employment training.
The Dignity Project is designed to inspire and educate the public about what it means to live in poverty – and what they can do to help. Through social networking and other communications outreach, The Salvation Army will engage Canadians about the reality of poverty in the 21st century.
“The findings from this year’s report are promising and reveal a population that recognizes the barriers and obstacles facing Canadians that suffer from either mental illness or addiction and how it can lead to a life of poverty,” said Commissioner Peddle. “Many people who seek the assistance of The Salvation Army are affected by one of these issues, so we are pleased that the public is eager to do more to help. The Salvation Army is working today and everyday to restore hope and dignity to all who need our help, regardless of their circumstance.”
The Salvation Army provides direct, compassionate, hands-on service to more than 1.7 million people in Canada each year, restoring hope and dignity to the most vulnerable in society. As an international Christian organization that welcomes everyone, The Salvation Army’s faith motivates its mission to serve and to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Learn more at www.SalvationArmy.ca.
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people today and everyday in 400 communities across Canada and more than 120 countries around the world. The Salvation Army offers practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, providing shelter for homeless people and rehabilitation for people who have lost control of their lives to an addiction. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community.
News releases, articles and updated information can be found at www.SalvationArmy.ca
For further information please contact:
National Director of Marketing and Communications
The Salvation Army