In the News
Prison psychiatrist's defence not good enough for mental health advocate
CBC News January 7, 2016
A mental health advocate is calling for a second psychiatrist to be assigned to Her Majesty's Penitentiary to give prisoners there a choice in the type of medical care they get.
Mark Gruchy, a lawyer and co-chair of the Community Coalition for Mental Health, made the comment Wednesday in response to an article written by prison psychiatrist, Dr. David Craig.
Craig wrote in the Canadian Journal of Addiction about his approach to prescription drugs, defending his practice of removing most psychotropic medications which he felt were over-used.
"We all have a right to a second opinion"
Rosie Mullaley January 6, 2016
Not everyone agrees with the approach Her Majesty’s Penitentiary psychiatrist Dr. David Craig takes in treating mentally ill inmates.
Mark Gruchy — a well-known mental-health advocate — is one of many who has expressed concerns about the doctor’s practice of eliminating inmates’ previously prescribed medication once they enter the prison. But focusing on one man is not how to solve the problem of how inmates’ continuity of care is consistently disrupted, he said.
Gruchy said the entire system of how mentally ill inmates are treated should be looked at, with an emphasis on giving them a choice.
Coping with SAD
Louis Power December 20, 2015
It’s the darkest week of the year, and many of us in the Northern Hemisphere are feeling it.
Every year around this time, an estimated one in five Newfoundlanders and Labradorians experience some symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). As the days get shorter in the fall, depressive symptoms show up: increased appetite for both food and sleep; forgetfulness; irritability; and decreased libido and feelings of low self worth, to name a few.
"This is a crisis.": Mental health and the 2015 Election
Justin Brake November 29, 2015
The grassroots organization at the heart of the province’s mental health movement says the parties vying to form government in Monday’s provincial election need to do better in their promises on mental health and addiction.
On Thursday the Community Coalition for Mental Health (CC4MH)—an alliance of community and labour groups, students, and individuals working to end stigma and raise awareness of mental health issues—released a policy document outlining key issues and perspectives they would like to see added to or elaborated on in the platforms and promises being put forth by politicians and parties.
Put meat behind mental health policy, says coalition to candidates
CBC News November 26, 2015
More community-based supports and beds for patients with eating disorders are on the list of needs from a group promoting mental health, and it wants election candidates to add detail to their general promises. The Community Coalition 4 Mental Health held a news conference in St. John's Wednesday to push issues it wants addressed before election day, Nov. 30.
"I don't think that any of the parties have really come forward and articulated what we would like to hear — that there is a solid, upfront commitment to mental health," said Tree Walsh, an outreach worker and member of the coalition.
The colonial roots of mental health and addictions among Indigenous Peoples in Canada
Amelia Reimer October 8, 2015
Thank you for coming here tonight to listen and let us share with you. My name is Amelia Reimer, and I am a proud Métis woman.
I was asked to come here and speak to you tonight about mental health and addictions in Aboriginal communities. I have lived and worked in a wide variety of Aboriginal communities throughout my life. There are certain sad stereotypes and certain sad truths that do exist within Aboriginal communities. One of the first things non-Aboriginal people mention to me is the prevalence of substance abuse.
Rally for better mental health services held in St. John's
CBC News August 23, 2015
A group of people who lost friends and family to suicide held a rally in St. John's on Saturday to promote better awareness — and better services — to tackle the issue.
Darlene Parrott-Manning says she lost her brother to suicide last year and her uncle, years earlier. She said her family has suffered and it's time more was done to help people who are suffering.
"People should be getting help. My brother, I don't feel, got the proper help," she said.
Vigil remembers Waterford victims and survivors, calls for new hospital
Justin Brake July 2, 2015
Amid urgent calls for new mental health facilities and implementation of the ‘recovery model’ of mental healthcare in N.L., people and groups continue to explain the problems and solutions to policy-makers, who have been saying for decades the hospital is coming “soon”.
About 168 people gathered at Bowring Park in St. John’s Monday evening for a vigil to remember those who lived and died in the Waterford Hospital, an antiquated and dilapidated building constructed in 1855, almost 100 years before Newfoundland joined Canada, that mental health advocates say amounts to an ongoing human rights abuse in the province in light of contemporary understandings of mental health and mental illness.
Vigil to honour, advocate for Waterford hospital patients
CBC News June 29, 2015
A Newfoundland and Labrador mental health coalition wants to honour Waterford Hospital patients, past and present, particularly those who have committed suicide. The Community Coalition for Mental Health says the event, taking place Monday evening at Bowring Park in St. John's, will be part memorial, part demonstration.
"It's activism, it's a memorial, it is also hope for people who are currently struggling," said coalition co-chair Meaghan Barnhill. "The point is really to show support to the people struggling, and it's also to bring light to the issue of the Waterford."
Gathering on Monday to remember the lost, support the struggling
Louis Power June 27, 2015
Many a soul has wandered through Bowring Park with the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Some have done so as they mustered up the courage to enter the neighbouring Waterford Hospital for help; others because the help they received there was not what they needed.
Some never left the park. Their deaths are often attributed to “natural causes,” said Meaghan Barnhill of the Community Coalition 4 Mental Health (CC4MH).
Waterford Hospital: Closing since 1971
Mark Gruchy May 7, 2015
“The lunatics of 2015…will be digging no more trenches because those who are responsible for the health and well-being of the people of this province fail. We will work in an entirely different way.”
April 30, 2015 was just another day in the long march of a centuries-old tragedy in Newfoundland and Labrador. It wasn’t new. It wasn’t a surprise. It has all happened before.
On that day, we were told that we were just going to have to live with the continued operation of the Waterford Hospital.
The disease of stigma and the power of discernment
Erin Piatto March 12, 2015
A few months ago my performance group was asked to participate in The Launch, a powerful and energizing event to mark the forming of the Community Coalition 4 Mental Health. I was thrilled to be involved, and even more so by evening’s end after seeing firsthand the tremendous amount of effort, organization, talent and love that was put into its creation.
The message we heard over and over again that night was that this was a human issue—in fact a human rights issue—and that everyone deserves safe, accessible mental health care. As the last notes of the evening’s final song faded and everyone was gathered on stage for the finale, the words “end stigma” rose up in a chant amongst the performers and the audience.
Nothing can stop us now
Mark Gruchy February 4, 2015
A sea change in the province’s mental health movement indicates unprecedented momentum.
On Jan. 21, a private member’s motion brought by NDP MHA Gerry Rogers achieved something very, very few of its kind do: It succeeded. It unanimously succeeded. An all-party select committee on mental health in Newfoundland and Labrador was born. Things changed.
Such a creature has never existed before in the history of our home.
Grassroots movement lays path for mental health justice
Justin Brake February 2, 2015
The House of Assembly proceedings of Jan. 21 weren’t only a win for democracy, they were a victory for the thousands province wide who don’t have access to adequate mental health care services and want to see meaningful change.
It was a big step forward for the province’s burgeoning mental health movement, and an example of how to get important things done at a time when, for many, cynicism has pervaded the will to engage with the political system.
Suicide must be stopped, says N.L. mental health coalition
Mark Quinn February 1, 2015
About 100 people met in St. John's Saturday to help the Community Coalition For Mental Health plan its next steps.
The group is pleased that members of the House of Assembly agreed last week to form an all-party committee on mental health.
But members of the coalition say it's only a first step.
CBC News spoke with some people at the meeting at Holy Heart High School who say they've had to fight to get the health care services they needed. They said that must end and they're pushing to make it happen.
Fixing NL's "broken" mental health system
Justin Brake October 18, 2014
Groups launch Community Coalition for Mental Health in St. John’s, call for government action and a strategy to deal with province’s mental health crisis.
There is a mental health crisis in Newfoundland and Labrador and we need to start addressing it now.
That’s the collective message of dozens of community organizations who joined together Wednesday in St. John’s to launch a new grassroots mental health advocacy group, the Community Coalition for Mental Health (CC4MH), in front of a packed Holy Heart Auditorium.
Mental health forum tackles stigma, calls for systemic change
CBC News October 16, 2014
More than a thousand people crowded into a St. John's theatre on Wednesday night to demand a more serious approach to improving services for those living with mental illness.
Spurred by St. John's Centre MHA Gerry Rogers, the Community Coalition for Mental Health held what it called "the Launch" at Holy Heart Theatre.
"It's a movement that appears to be gaining momentum," said Rogers, who was moved to hold a public meeting about mental illness after hearing performers Andy Jones and Mary-Lynn Bernard speak out about the life and suicide of their son, Louis Bernard, earlier this year.
Open to the public, The Launch invites you to talk about mental illness
CBC News October 13, 2014
A new group is hosting its first event this week in St. John's in the hopes of raising awareness — and funding — for mental health services.
The Community Coalition for Mental Health is holding what it's calling The Launch at Holy Heart Theatre on Wednesday evening.
Well-known politicians and performers, including MHA Gerry Rogers, writer-actor Andy Jones, and Republic of Doyle actor Linda Boyd, have helped organize the event.