Raising Public Awareness

Each year, we attend workshops and support groups and we have displays at hospitals, libraries and conferences across the province. Here's an example of one of our display boards that we use to educate health care professionals and the general public about the illness and the needs of adults and children with M.E.

May 12th is International M.E./CFS Awareness Day

We collaborate with the City of Toronto and the Ontario government to publicize the day. In the week around that date, MEAO mails out notices to 130 community newspapers across Ontario, holds public events, educational booths and displays in Toronto and distributes materials to local groups province-wide.

Transit Ad Campaign

Since 2004 we have run Public Transit Awareness Campaigns in Toronto, Ottawa, London, Sarnia and Windsor with posters or cards in buses, subways and stations in each city. Many of our campaigns coincide with May 12th, but in London, Ottawa and Windsor the transit systems now donate space year-round. Estimated viewership is 1.5 million. We are pleased that this initiative has increased public awareness. We have received calls from Social and Legal Aid Workers in addition to people living with M.E./CFS and their families. Our posters and bus cards can also be placed in other venues. If you know of a location that would be willing to display one of our posters in your area please contact us.

The CDC Awareness Campaign

We applaud the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States for their work on Raising Awareness of M.E./CFS. Their multi-million dollar campaign in 2006 showed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are committed to improving awareness about M.E./CFS and continue to provide up-to-date educational resources on the illness.

The CDC recognized that M.E./CFS is a public health concern because:

  • M.E./CFS affects more than 4 million Americans.
  • Less than 20% of Americans with M.E./CFS have been diagnosed.
  • M.E./CFS can be as debilitating as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and similar chronic conditions.
  • The annual economic impact of M.E./CFS in the United States is $9.1 billion in lost wages and earnings alone, not including health care costs or disability benefits.

One part of the CDC campaign was an excellent Television Public Service Announcement.

The CDC also included a media campaign in their awareness efforts and supplied media outlets with video clips from researchers regarding the illness and the awareness campaign.