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.


May 9, 2024 24 mins

We’ve reached the stage where people are starting to acknowledge cell phone addiction is real. The issue is critical to childrens mental health and their ability to learn. It also means our kids are not getting outside, playing in the dirt and rolling in the grass. Bienenstock playgrounds builds play areas using natural elements like trees, rocks and earth that connect kids to nature.


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The Ontario government has announced a new policy banning the use of cell phones in classrooms.  The question is what will this new policy achieve?  Erin Clayton, who is the Director of Quality Assurance, Research and Planning at Pathstone Mental Health, talks about the policy and the mental health impact on children of constant cell phone use. Pathstone has programs to help parents and their kids put their phone down. 

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Niagara Regional housing has put together a 10 poinr plan to reduce homelessness and, importantly, provide some space and programs for people living rough.  A temporary 24-hour a temporary shelter has opended where people have their own room, 3 meals a day and a large recreational area.

The recommendations came from a committee that included people with lived experience with homelessness and/or substance use.  


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March 16, 2024 23 mins

When people see someone who is homeless they probably think it could never happen to them. But at some point in time a person living rough and in a shelter did have a home. They may have had a family, friends and a good job. There are so many reasons why people end up living rough – job loss, mental health, trauma or substance use. In Marni Katzman’s case, she was addicted to alcohol, and despite a few stints in rehab she wasn’t ab...

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Darcy Patrick is a Mental Health advocate, speaker, coach and author of 5 books about his journey from severe depression to wellness.  Two years ago he ended up in hospital in excruciating back pain.  Doctors still haven’t figured out what caused the serious erosion in two discs in his back and he still lives with debilitating pain. 

I met Darcy almost 10 years ago and he is one of the most determined people I know so I asked him to...

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Schizophrenia is the least understood and the most stigmatized any mental illness.  

Imagine how scary it can be for the person living with schizophrenia when every minute of the day voices in their head talking to them. When we hear someone yelling on the street, they're yelling at their voices. Signs and symptoms may vary, but usually involve delusions, hallucinations or disorganized speech, and reflect an impaired ability to...

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Tara Mckendrick is Executive Director of Canadian mental health association Niagara.  Taratalks about CMHA Niagara crisis services and also help define what is a crisis. Like most communities Niagara has a homeless and addiction crisis but Tara says we can’t just look at solving the problem, we have to find out the story of how a person got to where they are.  It will help people think about possibilities and maybe find hope.

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9-8-8 is a new 3-digit suicide crisis help line is being rolled out across Canada. The line will connect people who are experiencing thoughts of suicide to their to their local suicide prevention lines and make it easier for areas that don’t currently have a line. 988 is for people who are in crisis but does not replace 911, which should still be called if someone is in danger or actively trying to harm themselves.

The Center for  A...

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No one likes to have cold feet and most of us take for granted that we can buy warm socks and be comfortable during the winter. But so many people who are homeless or struggling financially to keep food on the table aren’t able to buy basic necessities like socks. Kids are going to school without warm socks or sometimes no socks at all. founder Sam Baio saw the need for warm socks and started in ...

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Feed Ontario has released it’s annual Hunger Report. Five million people visited foods banks across the province in the past year. One in 6 identified as having a job.  

Sadly,  food bank visits have increased at the same time people’s ability to give has declined. 

 On the show today are Carolyn Stewart CEO of Feed Ontario and Christine Clark-Lafleur CEO of Port Cares and part of Feed Niagara.  

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A decision on whether to offer Medical Assistaince in Dying – or MaiD -  to people living with a mental illness in Canada has  been delayed again until March of 2024.

It’s such a complex issue and there’s a real division in the mental health community over whether MaiD should be expanded to include mental health. Some psychiatrists are firmly against it and others are firmly in favour.

We mostly hear about MaiD for people w...

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National Addiction Awareness Week (Nov. 10-25, 2023) is spearheaded by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.  Inspiration, Innovation and Inclusion is this year's focus. CCSA has released a report on the cost of substance use and addiction. It found that in 2020, substance use in Canada cost $49.1 billion, largely from alcohol and tobacco. Opioid deaths accounted for $7 billion with 75% of that attributed to youn...

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This year the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is focusing it’s no one left behind fundraising campaign on substance use and addiction.  Opioid use and deaths are still the biggest crisis with more 7300 deaths in Canada in 2022. But use of stimulants like methamphetamine, also know as crystal meth, is also increasing.  Mixed drug toxicity, for example meth with an opioid, is a...

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Important news from Pathstone Mental Health. Pathstone is now the direct access point for all publicly funded mental health services in Niagara for children aged birth-18 years.  It's taking over from Contact Niagara so parents and youth now have a single intake number to call for all mental health services in the region.

Please call or e-mail Pathstone directly at 905-688-6850 ext. 8 or You can al...

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The media plays an important role in forming public opinion and jouranists and their media outlets need to change the way they report on violence against women. 

 Gillian’s Place - a shelter for women in Niagara - has put together a free online course on Responsible Media Reporting of Gender-Based Violence and Gendered Issues.

The course dives into how much words matter and the ways media should report gender issues.


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Talking with someone who knows what you're going through can make all the difference when you're in hospital for treatment of a mental illness. Faith Rockburne, who is a Peer Support worker at St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto, finds personal healing for herself as well knowing that she is helping someone recover.

Faith was on the show last week to talk about her lifelong battle with treatment resistant depression...

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Faith Rockburne has lived with mental illness most of her life from anorexia as a teenager to severe depression as an adult. 

 Her depression and anxiety got worse as she got older until she stopped going out of her house and eventually lost her job. 

Faith’s road to recovery has been long and difficult - anti-depressants didn’t  work and after trying electro confulsive therapy – or ECT - she was told there was nothing left to try bu...

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Eram Chhogala is an emergency room and trauma nurse at a hospital in Toronto. She says more and more people are coming to emergency rooms for help for mental health or substance use. She believes it's because there is so much financial stress – the cost of living or maybe losing a job – and they have no other place to go for help.

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Losing a pet can be very hard but adults expect it when their pet gets to a certain age and we know it’s ok to be sad, even cry.  Children feel the loss in a very different way and as parents we want to protect them from sadness and may feel it’s best to buffer the sadness with euphemisms, like "he’s gone to sleep" or "she’s gone away", leaving the child wondering when their pet will be home.

Dr. Joshua...

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Gambling is known as the hidden addiction. Many people play at online gaming sites, go to casinos or maybe they start by betting with friends or buying lottery tickets. For most people it's just some fun and doesn't affect their daily life. But for some the obession can lead to losing their family, friends and even their job.

Community and Addiction Services of Niagara – or CASON - provides comprehensive treatmen...

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