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  • Writer's pictureallison zinnick

The Silent Struggle: Canada’s Mental Health Support Gap

Hi! If you’re new here – I’m Allison. I’m a mom of two with ADHD and anxiety. We need to talk about the holes in our mental health system in our country.

Last year was by far the worst year of my life. I won’t bore you with all of the details but here is a list of the things that went down.

  1. My mom had a stroke

  2. My husband had a heart attack

  3. My mom was diagnosed with cancer

  4. I was fired (my performance took a hit..maybe because MY MOM HAD A STROKE AND MY HUSBAND HAD A HEART ATTACK)

  5. My neighbour’s house burned down

Pretty awful right? Naturally I realized that I needed to talk to someone. I needed to get support. Little did I know how difficult that would be.

I sat across from an intake worker, to assess my needs. After talking, she told me that she’s unable to refer people to the on-staff psychiatrists and psychologists. First, they need to prove that I’ve “tried all the things” to improve my mental health on my own. You know, like yoga, and breathing exercises.

She did refer me to an #ADHD specialist, which was a 6 month waiting list. During that appointment, I realized he was not actually oging to be seeing me long term. His purpose was to simply write a letter with instructions to send back to my GP. Among those instructions, psychologist visits. Did he have any recommendations for anyone, I asked.

“Oh no. There’s no one. You’ll need to go to a private practice. Doctors are leaving Alberta.”

In a country lauded for universal healthcare, it’s a bit ironic, isn’t it? Mental health support seems to be more of a luxury item than a basic right. Private practices? Great for those who can afford it. Mental health support shouldn’t be determined by the weight of your wallet. It’s a necessity, not a niche market for the wealthy.

Oh, Canada, our home and native land—where’s the love for the minds that need a little extra TLC?

Dear Policy Makers,

I see you. Sharing the obligiatory on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Yet, you do nothing to make meaningful changes in the lives of those who need it. You have the power to ensure that mental health care is as accessible as a family doctor or emergency room. Invest in our minds like you invest in our roads, schools, and bridges—let’s pave concrete paths to support for all, not just those with gold card insurance.

In Closing

My sense of humor usually carries me through the rough times. But this is not a laughing matter. Mental health is no joke, and our support system? Well, it needs some serious therapy of its own.

Remember, it’s okay not to be okay, and it’s even more okay to demand the help we all deserve.

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