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.


June 4, 2023 23 mins

Pride month 2023 is in full swing .  Ten years ago there were about a dozen people gathering to Montebello Park in St. Catharines to celebrate. This weekend thousands were in the park. Pride flags are flying at all municipalties around Niagara, schools and most businesses are recognizing the 2SLGBTQ+ community.  Pride Niagara Chair Enzo De Ditivitiis talks with Janice Arnoldi on Life Unscripted about what it was like as a kid growi...

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Birchway Niagara (formerly Women's Place) has amalgamated its shelters into one to provide more and better services in South Niagara for women and childeren experiencing domestic abuse. Executive Director Jennifer Gauthier says shelter services are growing as gender violence continues to increase. Her dream is to come to work one day and find she doesn't have a job because gender abuse doesn't exist.  For now the Bir...

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Does society divide people who are homeless into good and bad? Most people would say no, but sub-consciously many of us see a dividing line. The "good" homeless are people who lost their home and are new to living without a roof - maybe they lost their job and can't afford rent. Then there's the "bad" - the people who are living rough because of mental illness, addiction struggles or both. 


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The Blue Guardian app uses AI to help kids identify how they are feeling. Founder Emmanuel Akindelay had some bad experiences with mental health as a child, including teachers who just brushed him off rather than offering help.  But while AI like ChatGPT uses publicly available intelligence and knowledge to make information hyper available to anyone, Blue Guardian only tracks emotional intelligence based solely on the individual us...

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The RAFT started in 1992 as a homeless shelter for young people.  In the last 30 years it has grown into so much more then a shelter. Many of the kids have left school and are estranged from their families. The RAFT teaches them life skills, helps them find housing and work and importantly to rebuild a new relationship with their families. Executive Director Mike Lethby talks about The RAFT.

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Animals can be so emotionally healing. Therapeutic dogs visit people in long term care homes and more and more we see people with a service dog that provides emotional support. We’re also learning about the healing affect of horses on people experiencing post traumatic stress. 

Horse Sense for Kids in Niagara is a non-profit helping at risk kids who are struggling to to cope with life. The program has partnered with children’s organ...

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We seem to be seeing more unspeakable violence. It's so hard to understand how someone could perpetrate a mass shooting, a random killing or the murder of a loved one. All too often the go-to explanation is mental illness.  In reality, few violent crimes are perpetrated by someone who is mentally ill. 

Janice and Jennifer Fisk talk about the relationship of mental illness and violence.

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Every year March 31st marks the International Transgender Day of Visibility.  It's a day to raise awareness of the discrimination transgender men and women face. It's a day to respect a trans person's human rights.

For Ally Phillips this is just one day of 365 days a year that  all of us should show our understanding and compassion, and embrace trans men and women who add so much to the life of every community.  Ally ...

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Niagara’s Assertive Street Outreach (NASO) Team actively engages individuals, across Niagara, experiencing unsheltered homelessness to promote, connect, and coordinate access to the range of supports available across Niagara’s Homeless-Serving System, including emergency shelter, housing and support services.

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For the past three years I’ve been following the monthly Mental Health Index - which surveys people in the workforce about the state of their mental health.  

Paula Allen Senior Vice President of Research and Total Wellness at Telus Health, formerly Life Works, says while anxiety is still high on people’s radar inflation and isolation are the biggest stressors. 

She says it’s paramount to get rid of stigma in the workplace and create...

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For Black women hair is intrictly woven into their family and their culture from an early age. In this show you'll hear from an extraordinary 10 year old, Normani Hamilton, who has written a book My Beautiful Hair.

Also, Kerry Goring, a hairdresser,  talks about the deep cultural connection and meaning of hair and how it is empowering Black women.

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Many of us think about magic mushrooms when we hear the word  psilocyben.  It is the psychedelic in "shrooms" that creates the high or "trip", says Dr. Ishrat Husain at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Dr. Husain and his team are researching the effectiveness of psilocyben to treat people with depression who have not responded to other medication.  

Dr. Husain took part in a world-wide study just publi...

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Several years ago street photograper Diane Conn was out and about and by chance took a photo of a couple holding hands.  She became fascinated by the sense of wellbeing she felt from exerpiencing two people holding hands and continued to take photos of people when she was out with her camera. She took all the photos from behind which allows you to use your imagination about the two people and find answers to questions - Why do we h...

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Intimacy is a challenge that most couples face at some point in their relationship. It's not always about sex. It can be lack of touch or emotional connection. But often people struggling with depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues feel numb and unable to connect at any level.

Sensuality coach Kerry Goring has some tips about how to get intimacy back into any  relationships.

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I have been honoured to have so many people share their personal stories of mental health and addiction with me on Life Unscripted. Over the past 20 years I've talked openly about my struggles with bipolar 1 disorder. So I was really surprised how nervous I was when I sat on the other side of the mic at 610CKTB to talk to afternoon  host Walter Sendzik.

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January 23, 2023 23 mins

Stigma is still a reality for many people. I've talked to Jennifer Fisk in the past about how she overcame the stigma  she felt about her rampant anxiety, both with friends and work colleagues. Jennifer thought she had conquered stigma until she moved to new job and it started all over again. It was her dream job and Jennifer went back to hiding her anxiety because she thought poeple would think she couldn't do the job.  ...

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December 6, 2022 24 mins

Dying by suicide is the 2nd higest cause of death for kids between the ages of 15 and 19, only slightly behind accidents.  Ryan Andres, who works with at risk children at Pathstone Mental Health, says the number of children thinking about suicide has increased at a much higher rate than deaths. He talks about the signs parents and friends should look for.

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Jennifer McCready owns Lady Luck Photography and is a strong advocate for ending stigma for mental illness, as well as body positivity. Jennifer photographs aren't your average portraits. They are unique, colourful and fun and they've helped many women feel positive about themselves and their bodies.  Jennifer is now working on a TV series about body positivity.  At the same time, she has lived through the worst depressio...

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August 30, 2022 24 mins

Pathstone Mental Health’s Back-to-School Prep Tips equips students with the tools they need for a successful year.

The start of a new school year can be extra tough for kids and with Canadian statistics stating that 1 in every 5 children (expected to increase to 1 in every 4) will experience a mental health struggle as a result of the pressures caused by the pandemic, the need for mental health support with children, ...

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June 27, 2022 22 mins

Feeling positive about their bodies has always been a struggle for teens.  Many constantly compare themselves to others and never match up. This can lead to mental and physical health issues. Lee-Ann Smith is a social worker at Pathstone Mental Health and a strong proponent of the Body Positivity Movement to help teens and parents learn healthy, nurturing skills to defeat negative thinking.


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