Dear Dad, I was tasked with writing you a letter. I am doing so for Father’s Day, which falls about a week after what would have been your birthday. If you hadn’t taken your own life.
For me, the testimony by Louise Bradley, CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, was one of the highlights of this week’s proceedings at the human rights inquiry. That’s why I was pleased when she was willing to be interviewed. We talk about mental health, the harm of living in an institution, stigma, and the benefits of community living. Louise was at one time heavily involved in the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, and we also talk about the folks there who have been conditionally discharged but can’t get the supportive housing they need. So they just stick around, sometimes for many years.
This weekend’s touching video sends the message that people found “not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder” are human beings first of all, who, like everybody, get sick, and then get better again.
Frequent contributor Tim Blades on living in poverty, his struggle with illness and mental health issues, and the urgent need to be compassionate and open with one another. “Now I want to delete that last paragraph. My heart is racing just from typing that last paragraph. While I want to be safe and delete that last paragraph, If I let go of that secret, it’s just one less thing for me to hold onto.”
Members of a mental health and addiction peer support group here in Halifax are worried about wait times and the lack of client-centered supports. The position of Senior Director for Mental Health and Addictions becoming vacant offers an opportunity to do better than last time, their open letter states.
Late last week Nova Scotia’s auditor general reported that the province lacks a plan for delivering mental health services to all Nova Scotians, and that standards for wait times aren’t being met. New contributor Jessica Briand has seen it all. “In the last seven years I have seen eight different mental health professionals. I’ve witnessed first-hand the flaws in mental healthcare in Nova Scotia,” she writes.
People manage their depression and anxiety in all kinds of different ways. Your cultural background plays a role in that, and whether you are poor or rich also matters. A study hopes to learn more about the different ways we deal with mental health issues, so that healthcare can become more accommodating. If you live in HRM you can help.
Lisa Bond explains what it is like to live the much publicized mental health crisis in Cape Breton. “With all of these hurdles facing us on this island, it’s not hard to lose hope. How are we as parents supposed to help our kids if we can’t even get them mental health help in a timely fashion? We can monitor their social media, watch their phones, have all their passwords….. but it still takes a village. We need and deserve access to the specialists that can help our kids.”
Frequent contributor Kendall Worth relates the story of a young man who desperately needs support from Community Services, but can’t get it for a bunch of seemingly bureaucratic reasons.
New contributor Catherine Meyers reflects on the state of mental healthcare in Nova Scotia and the death of her husband at a young age, a death that may well have been preventable. “There are still too many situations like the one I experienced, where people, especially youth, don’t get the right kind of mental health care.”