News & Events News & Announcements 2014 21st Annual Peace of Minds Walk for Schizophrenia comes to Toronto

21st Annual Peace of Minds Walk for Schizophrenia comes to Toronto

Provincial walks across Ontario will benefit the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO)

For Immediate ReleaseMay 14, 2014Toronto – Join families, friends and supporters as they come together in communities across Ontario to rally support and awareness while raising funds to help individuals and families affected by schizophrenia and psychosis.
The Peace of Minds Walk for Schizophrenia is SSO’s largest fundraising event with nine walks being held in communities throughout the province in support of the cause. The Walk in Toronto will be held on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 1:00pm (registration at 11:30am). Participants will meet at Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West.
Now in its 21st year, the Walk has raised over $1M to date for crucial programs and services that support individuals and families living with schizophrenia. The Walk also serves to educate the public and fight stigma. Stigma and discrimination impacts people living with schizophrenia in many facets of life – from education and employment, to accessing services and housing.
“In addition to raising funds, this event is about getting out into the public space and making people aware of schizophrenia and psychosis,” said Mary Alberti, SSO CEO. “Too often people with schizophrenia are met by discrimination and the issues that they face on a daily basis are ignored. Seeing people out in support of the cause sends the message that mental illness affects us all – and lets people know that help is available for those who need it.”  
An important aspect of each Walk is highlighting the personal stories that come with them — the stories of hope that define SSO’s mission.
Stories of people like Marie Asuncion.
Just before she turned 16, Marie Asuncion began feeling that things weren’t quite right.  She was experiencing paranoia, feeling anxious and hearing voices.  Not sure what was happening, she just tried to ignore it. After several weeks of ongoing symptoms, Marie had a full-blown episode of psychosis.
Marie was immediately admitted to hospital and received the treatment and support she needed.
“When it happened, I remember locking myself in my room with my family on the other side of the door trying to get to me,” Marie recalls. “My family was my biggest support and we learned to live with this illness. I have come a long way since then and I’m in a good place now.”
Today, Marie is a language teacher, accomplished musician, and mental health advocate.
As a spokesperson for SSO Marie shares her story so that young people are aware of the illness and don’t wait to seek help.
Join us in Toronto in support of people like Marie.
Peace of Minds Walk in Toronto:

Date: Sunday, May 25, 2014
Registration Time: 11:30am
Meeting location: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto
Schizophrenia facts:
• Schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 people — approximately 350,000 in Canada and 120,000 in Ontario alone.
• Schizophrenia is youth's greatest disabler and often manifests in adolescence or early adulthood: In males, usually between the ages 15 and 25; and in females usually between the ages of 20 and 35.
• There are many myths and misperceptions surrounding people with schizophrenia often resulting in discrimination, stigma and can prevent individuals from seeking help.
• Genetic factors and environmental factors/stress can play a role in the onset of schizophrenia.
• In Canada, only 1 out of 5 young people who need mental health services, receives them in a timely way.

Media contact: Alexander Ross, Communications Officer, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, 416 449 6830 x 257

The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people, families and communities affected by schizophrenia and psychotic illnesses. The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario is a province-wide charitable organization that was founded in 1979 by Bill and Dorothy Jefferies in an attempt to build awareness about serious mental illnesses and to support families and individuals living with these illnesses.
Today, the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario provides a range of support services; education initiatives; awareness, information and knowledge building programs; advocacy; youth-oriented programming and a diverse research program with both funded independent studies and in-house research; all geared to breaking down stigma and improving the quality of life for individuals who are living with schizophrenia and psychosis and their families and caregivers.