The bishops pointed out that people with mental illness often suffer in silence, whereas those with a physical illness are more likely to receive an outpouring of sympathy and support from their parish and community. "But it doesn't work". Effectively identifying mental health issues and managing them in childhood and adolescence is one way to make a difference. Christiansen said she knows that all too well.
It is not uncommon for mental illness to be brought up as a potential cause of abusive behavior, but the National Domestic Violence Hotline warns against lumping the two together.
"The problem with people with mental illness is they don't tell the truth".
With teenagers, Trudeau noted efforts to promote the federal government's Head Strong initiative, which helps young people through mental health issues and allows them to become advocates to speak to others about their struggles and successes, not preach to them about being "normal".
"Teaching our teenagers to recognize their emotions in a realistic way, and as well be concerned about the drug use, be concerned about the alcohol binging, be concerned about them not sleeping, be concerned about the bad diet - those are the signs and symptoms that it's not the best life they're living", she said.
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The bishops said that all Catholics are "called to provide hope and healing to others" and in recognising that every human life is sacred, they should not only "attend to those in our midst who suffer in body or mind" but also work with families, mental health professionals, community organisations and all individuals and institutions engaged in such work.
Despite the facts, mental health is still an area that is taboo for many in the workplace. "To spread the awareness to people we may not be able to reach out to, and to spread the word", Lust said. "So you have to start the conversation and say how you feel".
In the run up to the event the pet food company is running a Facebook competition asking customers to share stories of how their pets have change lives.
There is another session as part of Mental Health Awareness Week at the same location between 2pm and 4pm on Wednesday May 16.
"I grew up with siblings who went through some of these situations, and they need a support system", Hernandez said, "and as an older sister, I can be that support for my sister and that motivates me to come out and do this for her". It says in their transition from childhood to adulthood, the youth are most vulnerable to mental health problems due to psychological and emotional changes that happen during this period.