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The Emerging Into Light image is “a symbol of recovery and resilience for people who care about mental illness and mental health.” Jennifer Osborn, a consumer and young woman of considerable artistic talent, created the image because she wanted to share her story through art. Since July 2000 the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Health formally endorsed the symbol and agreed to act as custodian of the image. By CMHA adopting the symbol we are bringing mental illness out of the dark ages and into our community — into the light.

Canadian Mental Health Association/Fort Frances Branch operates on a Recovery philosophy. Many people believe that it isn’t possible to recover from a mental illness, but it is. Not to be confused with cure, Recovery is the point at which a person begins taking that first step forward as a person separate from his/her illness. People say this about what Recovery means to them: “I got my life back!” “Feeling alert and alive,” “Knowing I have tomorrow,” “Working with and relating to others,” “Having the ability to work.”

Just as a catastrophic event or diagnosis of a serious physical illness can be frightening, so can be diagnosis of a serious mental illness. Visions of unemployment, poverty and disability may go through one’s mind. Add to that the stigma that people with a mental illness face only increases anxiety levels. At such a vulnerable time, it’s important to offer hope not discouragement. That’s what the Recovery philosophy does.

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