Toronto, Canada (PressExposure) September 14, 2009 -- On Friday, August 14th, 2009, Essy, the Toronto born lingerie and fashion model signed with DNA Model Management and Calvin Klein, volunteered at the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) half-way house in downtown Toronto. Sources at CAMH say Essy has been a long time supporter of the facilty and has donated many evenings to sitting with patients, providing "manicures and good conversation".
Management for Essy says she mainly spends her time with young women who are working through treatment for major depressive disorder and other mood disorders. From a Greek-Canadian home, Essy is familar with a community that typically ignores mental illness and sometimes isolates and ostracizes people who are forced to suffer in silence.
"I feel compelled to help these women in any way I can," said Essy to the Toronto Online Inquirer. "They are often silent victims of neglect. Turned out by their own families because they blame the victims for what is happening to them." Essy continued, "People need to understand that mental illness is no different than physical illness and the people who suffer should be treated with the same compassion and respect."
The Public Health Agency of Canada said this year in their annual report on the status of mental illness in Canada that, "Mental illnesses indirectly affect all Canadians through illness in a family member, friend or colleague", and that, "Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives. Approximately 1% will experience bipolar disorder." It is estimated that between 4.1%-4.6% of adult Canadians will experience a major depressive episode for a given year, while a staggering 12.2% of adult Canadians will suffer from an anxiety disorder.
"In the fashion industry, some people might be shocked at the amount of mental illness you see." Essy said. "Personally, I have suffered from generalized anxiety for my entire adult life, and I know many others who are close to me who are in the same situation."
The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that eating disorders annually occur in 2.2% of women and 0.3% of men. "I am part of a world which contributes to the body image problems that plague women in the Western world," said Essy. "It seems the very least that I can do to donate my time to helping these women."
"People need to take mental illness in young adults more seriously," the model continued. "The number of men and women my age who are losing control of their lives to untreated mood and personality disorders is staggering." While suicide is only responsible for 2% of all deaths in Canada, it is responsible for 24% of deaths occuring in the 15-24 year old age range. "It's these teens and young adults who are swayed the most by media and social pressures. It's also these people who need their families to be understanding and supportive. If there families can't or won't be there for them, I am glad that I can."