Canadian Mental Health Association puts its message on a T-shirt

Who: The Canadian Mental Health Association and Taxi Toronto.

What: “Mental Fatigues,” a new limited-edition clothing line that uses camouflage prints to demonstrate how many Canadians hide their mental health issues. It comes with a fundraising component to provide support and assistance for those dealing with mental health challenges.

When & Where: Three shirts are being sold at for $39.99, with all proceeds going to the CMHA to help it provide advocacy, programs and resources enabling Canadians to flourish.

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Why: The program is a fundraiser but is also intended to advance the discussion around mental health in Canada. Each year, an estimated 20% of Canadians experience mental illness or a mental health issue.

The shirts highlight three of the leading mental health issues that affect Canadians: Anxiety disorder, which affects up to 3 million Canadians each year; substance abuse disorder, which impacts an estimated 1.2 million Canadians; and workplace mental health, which sees more than 500,000 Canadians miss work each week due to mental health issues.

How: Taxi worked with Toronto-based illustrator Ka-Young Lee to develop the shirts, which are available in three patterns—at first glance they seem like typical camouflage but look closer and each features a depiction of a mental health issue. The anxiety disorder pattern portrays the negative feelings that it can produce, such as anger, fear and avoidance; the substance use disorder pattern illustrates the dangers it produces, such as a loss of control and relationship problems; while the workplace mental health pattern depicts workplace feelings of being overwhelmed or feeling powerless.

And we quote: “The Mental Fatigues apparel line illustrates an important insight about our mental health: when we camouflage our struggles, we hide from the help we need. CMHA welcomes the support provided through this imaginative campaign.” —Margaret Eaton, national CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association.


Chris Powell