Brain Health Awareness Week should be top of mind

Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2014

One in three Canadians will experience a neurological condition or suffer from mental illness in their lifetime. With this in mind, the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) is kicking off its first official Brain Health Awareness Week.

The week-long event will advance public awareness about mental health and brain health through personal stories, thought-provoking debates and expert-led discussions.

“Everyone has been personally affected in some way by diseases such as Parkinson's, depression, stroke and neuromuscular degeneration,” says David Park, director of uOBMRI. “We want to reach out to the community because they need to become advocates for their own care, become informed participants who understand what our clinicians and researchers are trying to achieve. With an engaged community, we become partners in care.”

Monday – Professional athletes speak on the fight against mental health

Elizabeth Manley, former Canadian figure skater and Olympic and world medalist; Stéphane Richer, former player for the Montreal Canadiens; and Shelley McKay, former Canadian National Team cyclist and triathlete

What do these three individuals have in common? Aside from being professional athletes, they have all experienced journeys of acceptance and recovery from mental health struggles. During this event, they will share their personal stories about living with mental illness, overcoming the stigma of the disease and their remarkable path to recovery.

Tuesday – The Faculty of Medicine's Mini Medical School, The Complicated Brain

This Mini Medical School lecture will explore the intricacies of the human brain—from how brain cells communicate with each other to how they form networks critical to our interactions with the world we live in.

Wednesday – Official proclamation of Brain Health Awareness Week by the City of Ottawa

Join David Park, researchers and clinicians from uOBMRI and Mayor Jim Watson at City Hall for the official proclamation of Brain Health Awareness Week.

Thursday – Experts debate: Are antidepressants overprescribed and ineffective?

Four experienced psychiatrists will engage in a debate on this highly divisive yet significant question.

Friday – Prominent scientists deliver fascinating presentations on the intricacies of the human brain

  1. Harnessing the Power of Regeneration to Treat Brain Disorders
  2. The Power of Genetics: Understanding and Treating Rare Brain Disorders
  3. The Science of Consciousness and the Sense of Self

For more information on the events, visit

About uOBMRI

The University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute connects clinicians, researchers and the community to tackle the challenges of brain disorders. The University of Ottawa and its partners—The Ottawa Hospital, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, Bruyère Continuing Care and Hôpital Montfort—integrate experts to advance the development of exceptional clinical care and research.

Information for media

Courtney Rodriguez
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa
Office: 613-562-5800 x3858
Cell.: 613-295-3334

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