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mental health

July-August 2018

Inside Ontario’s Cedar Centre, a space to care for those who have experienced childhood trauma

Executive director Alison Peck on the programs once considered one of Ontario's best-kept secrets for mental health care

Sohini Bhattacharya

As a child, Tim Johnson was sexually abused by multiple adults. Brief therapy sessions then didn’t help him. “I wasn’t ready for it,” says Johnson, who’s now a paramedic in York Region, Ont. As an adult, memories of his abuse started creeping back until he hit rock bottom. “One day I left work with the […] More »
July-August 2018

I tried to kill myself. I survived. When Canada’s health care system failed me, I tried again, and again

What needs to change in our country's suicide crisis intervention system

Sarah Mann

For more than half my life, someone has been trying to kill me. That someone is me. The first time I considered ending my life, I was eight or nine years old, living in a rented house with my father and brother in Owen Sound, Ont. My mother had moved out years earlier, after my […] More »

The obvious gender bias at play in the media’s coverage of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s deaths

The two died by suicide just days apart, but the coverage of their deaths that followed was stark in its gendered differences

Lisa Whittington-Hill

The new issue of People magazine has both celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade on its cover. Sadly, the magazine is the only weekly tabloid to give both stars the cover treatment, with other magazines featuring only Bourdain. When Spade and Bourdain died by suicide, just days apart, tributes and tweets celebrated the […] More »
May-June 2018

How one Toronto poet’s work has opened up conversations on mental health

Meet Sabrina Benaim

Michelle Cyca

Poetry isn’t a vocation associated with typical career paths, but even so, Toronto-based poet Sabrina Benaim’s journey has been unusually meteoric. In 2014, she performed a poem called Explaining My Depression to My Mother at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California. “Mom, my depression is a shapeshifter,” she begins in the video that has […] More »
November-December

Social workers devote their lives to helping others. Why aren’t they receiving help themselves?

Behind the shortcomings of the mental health care industry

Shauna McGinn

Years ago, walking through downtown Ottawa made Amanda Rocheleau anxious. As a social worker at The Ottawa Mission, one of the city’s largest homeless shelters, she knew almost every homeless person by name, and they knew hers. She listened to their stories every day—of childhood abuse, neglect, struggles with addiction and mental disorders. It didn’t […] More »
September-October 2017

How to provide a safe haven for those struggling with mental health challenges

Inside Percy Sacobie's Take a Break Lodge

Maverick Canterville@mavjaycee

“You have to stay here with me ’cause I don’t want you to be responsible for me,” insists a visitor to Percy Sacobie’s cabin in the woods behind his mother’s house. “You’re responsible for what you do to yourself,” Sacobie replies. He stops by the cabin every morning and every evening, but beyond that, its […] More »
March-April 2017

Thousands of Canadian women are dismissed by their doctors—because of their gender

Lisa Benshabat was told by doctors that things were "all in her head" when she was unwell. Then she took her life. Why women are routinely silenced by medical professionals

Talia Wooldridge@TaliaWooldridge

On February 9, 2016, at 3:45 p.m., Gail Benshabat sent a text to her 27-year-old daughter, Lisa, asking if she wanted to catch an early movie. Benshabat was wrapping up her workday at a quiet special needs school in the north end of Toronto, about a 30-minute drive from the third-floor apartment where she lived […] More »

I’ve lived with Borderline Personality Disorder for years. Why I’m finally talking about my diagnosis

Erica Ruth Kelly was diagnosed in her teens, but stigma has kept her quiet—even amid calls for more acceptance of mental health challenges

Erica Ruth Kelly

Current photo of the author. Trigger warning: self-injury, suicide When I was 18, a psychiatrist kicked me out of her office in my hometown of Montreal. A framed Sigmund Freud witnessed my humiliation. I’d raised my voice, confessing that I’d scratched up my arm again because I was “fucking sad.” My psychiatrist told me to […] More »
March-April 2017

Canadian university students aren’t getting the mental health care they need after graduation

Universities offer students mental health care to deal with the challenges of post-secondary education. But what happens when they graduate? On the tricky navigation of counselling after school

Carine Abouseif@carineabouseif

Illustration by Matt Daley “Open or closed?” “Closed, please.” I click the wooden door shut. I walk past the poster-lined office, climb the stairs out of the building, and emerge onto the sunny Ryerson University campus in downtown Toronto. I trudge to the subway, shuffling onto a northbound train just as the door closes. I […] More »
March-April 2017

This Alberta animal-assisted therapy takes an inventive approach to mental health care

Eileen Bona's Dreamcatcher Nature-Assisted Therapy Association uses animals to put Canadians back in touch with nature

Laura Eley

Photo by Stephanie Willis, Falling Leaves Photography Thirty minutes due east of Edmonton, where the traffic signals turn from streetlights to stop signs, is the town of Ardrossan. Here, you’ll find the Dreamcatcher Nature-Assisted Therapy Association, perched on 40 acres of lush, tree-lined, and trailed land. Founded in 2003 by psychologist Eileen Bona, Dreamcatcher has […] More »
January-February 2017

2017 Kick-Ass Activist: Dexter Nyuurnibe

In 2012, Dexter Nyuurnibe tried to take his life. Now, he’s a leader for greater mental health awareness among Canadian youth

Emily Rivas@RivasEmily

Dexter Nyuurnibe has the ability to command attention in any room. The 24-year-old is well-spoken, well-dressed, and charming. He’s a self-proclaimed lover of people, pugs, poutine, and unicorns. He’s that guy at the bar who ensures everyone is having a good time. He’s also probably the last person you would think would be struggling with mental […] More »