#BellLetsTalk

It is #BellLetsTalk day, a once a year event where Bell donates 5 cents for every text, call, tweet, Instagram, and use of snapchat GeoFilter to mental health initiatives. It is a wonderful day that generates an enormous amount of social media chatter and raises millions of dollars for a very underfunded part of our healthcare system, while simultaneously reducing stigma.

Stigma is only one part of the problem people with mental health issues face. The larger and more difficult problem to face is access to care. Unfortunately, at least in this province, the wait times to access a professional in the public system are astronomical.

mentalhealth

This chart was accessed through the NS government website and displays the maximum wait time 90% of patients waited to access Mental Health Adult Community-Based Services (Data period: July 1- September 30 2016). According to the website: “Wait times are measured from the time the referral is received by the clinical service to the date the patient has their first Choice appointment with a clinician. Wait times do not include patients who choose to wait longer.” Feel free to access this information at:  https://waittimes.novascotia.ca/procedure/mental-health-adult-community-based-services#waittimes-90

To help understand what the numbers mean: The shortest timeframe: 90% of patients accessing care at the Inverness Consolidated Hospital had their first appointment within 39 days of the service being requested. The longest timeframe: 90% of patients accessing care at the Cape Breton Regional had their appointment within 325 days of the service being requested.

Can you imagine deciding to seek help, only to be told it may take up to 325 days to be seen? This is incredibly frustrating for those seeking help, as well as those incredible people who are dedicated to providing help.

My intention is not for this information to create a negative backlash towards our healthcare system. My intention is to draw attention to, and generate a conversation surrounding, the challenges that currently face our mental health care system and those accessing care, and why #BellLetsTalk is so important for generating desperately needed funds.

 

 

Another year gone b’y

Hi Everyone!

9 months.  It has been 9 months since I wrote my post ‘Change.’ I don’t know which emotion is stronger; the disappointment in myself for taking so long to write, or the bewilderment of how much time has passed. Even more astonishing, it has been a year to the day since we arrived back in Canada from our 13-month trip. This anniversary is, of course, the fire under my arse butt to get back to writing.

What, you may ask, have I been up to during this extraordinary writing hiatus?

Nothing.

And everything.

It has taken me an entire year to digest and process what the 13-month backpacking around the world trip really meant. I find it fascinating how the mind processes things. I would be at work doing something completely ordinary, and all of a sudden find my mind back in Nepal watching the sunrise, or standing on the edge of the bridge just before I bungeed.In so many ways, it was like I spent the year re-living the previous year. This may sound like a gigantic waste of time, but it wasn’t even on a conscious level. It was like subconsciously, my mind was still playing catch up. I would all of a sudden think, “This time last year, I was _____________,” and then spend a few minutes reflecting on the memory. This did not happen every day, but frequently enough that it did feel like I was moving through the trip in chronological order as the year went on.

I discussed in my ‘Life Lessons’ post how misguided the romantic notion of travel allowing you to ‘find who you are’ is, but rather the idea that travel makes you question who you are. At the time of writing, I didn’t fully grasp the breadth of what that questioning process meant, and how unknowingly, it had began for me long before I ever stuck pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keyboard).

As I subconsciously and consciously reflected on the trip, I in turn reflected on how significantly the trip changed me. I feel like each country we visited taught me something about myself, and pushed me to grow into the best possible version of myself. I won’t claim that this transition and growth was easy. It was anything but easy. But I also sincerely doubt it would have ever happened had Chris and I not dared greatly and followed our inspiration to travel.

So, what else did I do this year? I followed my curiosity. 

I know, I know. ‘Big Magic,’ Liz Gilbert, been there, read that. If you have, you will find it entertaining to know that I just finished the book and had to pick my jaw up off the floor as I felt I could have written the damn thing. The proof, as they say, is in the proverbial pudding.

Where exactly did my curiosity lead me?:

  • New areas of Cape Breton, PEI, and Nova Scotia
  • To appreciate the peacefulness of journaling
  • Back to the gym for the simple pleasure of being active
  • To hard truths
  • To books I overlooked a hundred times previously
  • Newfoundland for the first, but not the last, time
  • To discussions about vulnerability
  • The discovery of podcasts
  • Fiddle lessons (For no reason other than the fact it brought me immense joy as a child)
  • Recycling old furniture and giving the pieces new life with chalk paint
  • To try meditation, realize its not for me, and be okay with that
  • New recipes
  • The realization; I am creative
  • To strengthening old friendships, and developing new ones
  • To continue to dare greatly

2016 was a beautiful year.

But something tells me, 2017 is going to incredible.