Life Unscripted - Stories of Mental Health and Addiction

Life Unscripted - Stories of Mental Health and Addiction

Life Unscripted has one goal - to break down stigma by sharing the inspiring stories of people living with mental illness and addiction. Shame and fear often stop people who really need help from reaching out. COVID 19 has created a mental health and addiction pandemic. For many, anxiety is now part everyday life. Alcohol and drug use has increased as people try to cope. Host Janice Arnoldi has lived with bi-polar (manic depression) disorder for more than 30 years. She has a half hour radio show and speaks regulary to groups about mental illness.

Episodes

November 21, 2021 25 min

#ProjectPlaid launched in 2019 after the tragic loss of Amelia Durocher to suicide. Amelia loved to wear plaid and taking quick action with a resolve to not let this happen to other kids and families, her mom Shanta created #ProjectPlaid. It not only helped her cope, it quickly became a connection for those who were struggling and it’s now a mental health movement. November is plaid month and Shanta's goal is to elevate awarene...

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Children grieve in different ways than adults, but even infants grieve. Kids are often too young to understand euphimisms like "loss".  Children's grief therapist Angel Graham says it may seem harsh but adults need to be direct and use real words like "died" so a child understands that death is permanent. November18 is Children's Grief Awareness Day.

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Managers and supervisors are going to have to re-think the way they interact with their teams.  There has been a lot of information about how people will work – fully remote, hybrid or full time back in the office, shift work, retail or any other job.  Life has been very fluid with work tied to COVID 19 restrictions and re-openings. The uncertainty has put an immense amount of strain on peoples’ mental health and many senior manage...

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There are different techniques and tools to help people recognize and deal with different mental illness disorders.  Probably the best know are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  ACT is ofen used to treat anxiety.  Psychologist Steve Abma talks about how accepting situations that make you anxious can be the key to stopping it.

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There is so much stigma and shame attached to postpartum depression many women  don't get help.  It is a big, horrible secret they may even keep even from their husbands.  It can be hard to understand how a mother wouldn't love her child  from the moment they're  born. But as many as 1./4 of women suffer with postpartum depression. When Jessica Gale Friesen had her first baby she thought she'd love him unconditional...

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Wellness Walls are going up in every school across Niagara to provide a safe space for kids to talk, take-action and support fellow students about their mental health.  Students from JK to grade 12 can put an anonymous message about how they're feeling on a post-it note on the Wall.  Other kids are encouraged to post notes of support - some from kids who have had the same experience and share their coping skills. 

The Wellness W...

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For years, Nicole Regher lived fear of her abusive husband.  When they were dating Nicole thought her boyfriend kept close track of her because he cared. Almost as soon as they were married he became violent.  Nicole escaped her marriage and now helps women like her at Gillian's Place, a shelter for abused women in Niagara, where she is Director of Development & Violence Prevention Programs. https://gilliansplace.com.

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Indigenous peoples are at a much higher risk of mental illness and addiction than the general population. Culture and traditional healing is central to the overall wellness of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. Renee Linklater, Senior Director at Shkaabe Makwa at the Centre for Addiction and Mental health, says trauma and racism has passed through the generations – especially the horrific abuse and deaths of children at reside...

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September 23, 2021 24 min

Last June, my friend Steve Gallagher shared his story with me about living with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). It was just before the #walktoendALS and Steve and I talked about living with the disease and  advocating for ALS. There are really no treatments. Health Canada has announced a new drug trial but it will be at least a year before testing is finished.

I'm replayling the interview with Steve to put a focus on the need for tr...

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September 20, 2021 22 min

When Paul Lea was in his late 50s he had a massive stroke affecting 25% of his brain. He pretty much gave up on life when he was diagnosed with vascular dementia. With help from his daughter and sheer determination Paul retrained his brain and developed coping skills.  But his advocacy for people with dementia has made the biggest difference.  Paul is part of the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health Not Today. campaign raising a...

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Close your eyes and imagine yourself running into a burning building, putting out the flames and saving someone caught in the fire. Firefighter Rob Leathen has been doing just that for 30 years. Rob describes his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that has been part of his life for most of his career. Rob works hard on his own life but also with others suffering with PTSD.  He is part of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Healt...

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It's estimated that 700,000 people die by suicide world wide every year.  In Canada, 10 people die by suicide every day.  Another 200 people will attempt so.  

Dr. Javeria Zaheer from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health talks about how to recognize the signs of suicide and reach out to a person you believe is in danger. Visit camh.ca for more information on suicide.

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Losing a loved one is hard. Grieving is hard. But grieving, gathering with friends and family and sharing  memories is what helps us slowly deal with loss.  The pandemic stole that from all of us. My father-in-law died in February 2020, a month before the first lockdown. It was so hard for the family to grieve in total isolation. 

Grief specialist Dr. Darcy Harris, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, says as the world ...

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Brian Hansell lost his son Paul to suicide in 2010 when Paul was just 18.  While Brian will never recover from his son's death he celebrates his life with the Paul Hansell Foundation committed to raising youth mental health awareness in Canada. The Foundation's #ConvoPlate are travelling around the world starting conversations about mental health about the importance of mental health in all our lives. 

You can keep them goin...

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Eram Chhogala, an emergency trauma nurse who works at two major hospitals in Toronto, talks about 17 months of extreme stress working on the frontline of the pandemic, treating people with severe COVID 19. There were days the ER was so full of patients, nurses and doctors were forced to treat people in hallways. Some nurses are considering leaving their jobs once the pandemic is over.

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It's the end of the summer and kids in Ontario are going back to school in person for the first time since last March. That's on top of the 20 weeks when schools were shuttered in 2020.
Angel Graham is a social worker at Pathstone Mental Health, which provides mental health services to children.  She shares TIPS on prepping your whole family for back to school, a time that can be particularly difficult for kids who already h...

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August 27, 2021 23 min

Author and mental health advocate Darcy Patrick talks about his new book The Big Let Go.  Darcy talks about how he let go of control so he could gain control of his new life moving forward from his depression.

Darcy had struggled for over 38 years from depression and had to make a call for help which was one of the most difficult things he had ever done.

Since the release of Darcy’s book his life has changed dramatically. He became...

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August 3, 2021 24 min

Many of us think of hoarders as the people on TV who have rooms full of junk, or at its worse, so much stuff they have to walk through warrens to get around their house.  Elaine Birchall has been working with people who hoard for the 20 years. 

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July 2, 2021 23 min

 "You can talk to me about mental health and dogs" or "Be kind to your mind" are just two of the anti-stigma messages on clothing from the online store ownyourstigma.com.  Allison and Brian Gilbank are trying to reduce the stigma of people living with mental illness with t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and mugs. A portion of sales is donated to mental health organizations and charities.

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June 27, 2021 24 min

People are drinking more and using more drugs as we reach 15 months of COVID in Canada. The international HR company LifeWorks released it's monthly Mental Health Index for May 2021. The May report focuses on the increase in alcohol and drug use and how it's affecting mental health.

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