Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Nunavut June 04, 2018 - 1:30 pm

Mad Mom’s mad about mental illness

GN Department of Health does no public education on mental diseases


What am I so concerned about this time, you ask?

Well, it’s about the shocking lack of public awareness and education by the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Health.

In over 18 years, it has failed to publish even one pamphlet on mental illness, despite this being the number one issue for so many people.

Information about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has been sadly lacking, year after year.

Those suffering from mental illnesses are isolated, not wanted in their communities, and depressed and lonely, suffering from what should be treatable illnesses.

Many people are still in the Dark Ages. They think mental disease is caused by demons.

We are sure not helping anybody when we can’t even publish a pamphlet on the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how it can be treated and provide hope to families and to struggling people.

There are ways of explaining anything. So why hasn’t any information come out, designed for the people of Nunavut?

I am sick and tired of the way the Department of Health functions. Surely, they could turn out a series of brochures on mental illness and improve the lives of many with the correct information. 

A big expenditure? I doubt it. Amazingly enough, they never think of it. They feel they know so much that a pamphlet is beneath them. 

But it isn’t, you know, and it could do so much good.

It could keep families together when the person is being treated with the right combination of medications. It could improve the quality of life for the affected person.

It is inexcusable that the mental health folks in health haven’t discovered the power of public information. 

Let’s get on with really serving the people!

Mad Mom
(Name withheld by request)

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(19) Comments:

#1. Posted by Bbff on June 04, 2018

Same with addictions, solveable and preventable yet no one wants to talk about it, and it’s impossible to get real help when we try. Waiting for the menta health department to call you back is like waiting for the seasons to change.

#2. Posted by Richard on June 04, 2018

Good idea, lets tell people how to get more drugs, after all mental illness can only be cured with drugs. Why bother with all these old fashion healing techniques, treatment centres and programs when all you need to do is turn the people you love into a drug induce zombi. A lot easier for the family but not so much for the unfortunate recipient of said mind numbing drug preventing him or her from being able to function or even think straight.

#3. Posted by AM on June 04, 2018

I agree with the person who wrote this letter. There needs to be more programs available for those with all types of mental illnesses within Nunavut that the Department of Health and Education can work on within Nunavut rather than sending people up for short periods of times in a year or two. It is so unreliable getting help by the health centers who mainly push medications for those with both mental illnesses that differ such as depression and anxiety. Its known that the prescriptions for those two illnesses cancel out on each other due to different reactions given from the illness. Inuit youth should be educated properly at a young age and through out the years on these mental illnesses because the chances of developing them are high in each community. We need more support from the GN to provide us the help we have been begging for, for many years. Where is it?

#4. Posted by Agree to a Certain Extent on June 04, 2018

I agree there lacks public awareness campaigns on mental illnesses.  But I disagree about the generality that people generally think it’s caused by demons.  That’s labeling people as stupid.  They are not.  Most just don’t have the coping skills to deal with the effects and symptoms of mental illness.

I also disagree that it should be limited to ‘pamphlets’.  There needs to be a whole Mental Health strategy, from proper diagnosis to staff orientation and professional development on different types of mental health illnesses to the construction of mental health centres to public awareness of the causes of mental health illnesses (genetic predispositions to man-made attributable causes, ie, drugs) to public awareness campaigns with social media to TV/radio and culturally appropriate venues to critical crisis management.  Mad Mom, be a little bit more responsible with your ranting please.

#5. Posted by sure on June 04, 2018

How about teaching people to be healthy when pregnant and not popping out screwed up kids that will never mentally develop properly.
Stop empowering people to be victims looking for a free handout.
Although a pamplet is the first step, there is so much more to do after that. Like hiring more councilors. Whats the wait list 6 months.

#6. Posted by SHE's back for how long? on June 04, 2018

Be mad at everything! it won’t solve it right away and it takes time Mad MOM! You think You are MS.Mad mom know it all

#7. Posted by DPG on June 04, 2018

Lady, enough about the pamphlets. Pamphlets do not work. You think depressed people think ‘oh man, I really wish there was an easily accessible pamphlet with general information that I can read right now, that would really help me deal with this debilitating disease.” No, pamphlets have been proven to be useless and a waste of money. There are much better ways of connecting with people and ensuring they have the information they need to seek help with their mental illness. Why don’t you try to find out what the dept of Health is actually doing? Why don’t you call them and ask them what public resources they have created and implemented? And maybe offer some suggestions to them instead of focusing so heavily on pamplets. Pamphlets! Wutcha talkin bout pamphlets! Pamphlets! C’moonn maaaannnn.

#8. Posted by "it takes time"?! on June 04, 2018

Hey #8, It’s been almost 20 years since the GN came into being, with its own Dep’t of Health. Still no basic mental health info, let alone a substance abuse treatment facility (which, #2, does not have to be about drugging people up). How long are you prepared to wait?

#9. Posted by Marriage and children transformed my life in so ma on June 04, 2018

I have struggled with coping with my mother’s Bipolar Depression (for most of my life) and Postpartum Depression for three years after having children. It’s not something I choose, but I am really trying to accept and let go of so that my heart and life can be happier and more free. My journey of healing continues. I’m sharing this because while I’m sad about it, I keep trying to find ways to overcome it, heal, and love myself deeply regardless of it. A part of my healing journey is acceptance, and owning it. Here I am raw and real, owning and accepting it and wearing my heart on my sleeve. We are all beautiful and perfect through our imperfections, and through our struggles, we heal and are made anew and whole. My 3 year old is an amazing kidlet. God willing, his behavioral problem is just a phase and it’ll pass with structure and discipline. There should be more support after the birth of a baby in regards to our own child’s development and our own parenting approaches.

#10. Posted by Living with mental illness on June 04, 2018

Not pamphlets. We need people.
Here we went 10 mos. without the psychiatrist- scheduled trip to the community at the 6 month mark did not occur: flight was cancelled due to weather. Stuff like that does happen -it’s part of life here.
GN needed a backup plan to get a different psychiatrist in the mean time: didn’t happen. It was 10 months before patients here were seen by their psychiatrist. Waited 9 months to have my psyc meds adjusted, deteriorating during this time (RN’s aware).
Mental health worker here–short contracts, chunks of time away often- there are issues with this individual, as people are uncomfortable around them. A temp. covering occasionally.
For those needing support in dealing with mental health, trust is a huge thing. Revolving door of M. H. people, aside from 2X/yr appts with the psychiatrist, is a huge deterrent to seeking help. Social worker not here ½ the time.
Meds are only 1 part of treatment; therapy needs to play a big part. No such thing as therapy in NU

#11. Posted by Malcolm on June 04, 2018

Eighteen years and still no public education campaign on mental illness?  Wwwwhhhaaattt, what are they doing over there in Health, just talking with each other?
We cannot just pile them up at Akausisarvik, it is full enough. 
We need to have well-education parents or family members who know what the person has, what are the sign and symptoms, what meds have to be taken on an on-going basis and who monitors that it is all being done.
I have heard people are indeed afraid saying it is evil spirits or demons both in Nunavut and Nunavik. So there must be an even bigger need to educate them to be helpful rather than to be afraid.

#12. Posted by Don0313 on June 04, 2018

Mad Mom is rarely wrong but many newcomers may not know that.
Yes we have seen too many pamphlets in the south but up here it is new and would have an impact.
People have a right to be the recipients of as much information as they need to understand those around them.
It isn’t just ‘drugging up’ people either, if you check there are many people holding jobs, raising families who are on specific meds for their particular mental illness. I hope you are not generalizing that everyone should get off of them or their conditions would certainly deteriorate even more like Schi\ophrenia, Bipolar etc.

#13. Posted by Sue Hubley on June 05, 2018

#2 - In the time it took you to write your comment, you could have used that time to research “mind numbing DRUGS”.  This is a comment written out of sheer ignorance of the subject matter.  For many people who live with a mental illness, these MEDICATIONS are to enhance or supply chemicals that the body produces in low measures.  Education is the key to dealing with ANY illness.  I ask one simple question - Why do people dealing with heart issues, diabetes, etc., receive no flack for taking medication to control those illnesses, but those, equally striving to live with mental illness, get hurtful, ignorant and unnecessary stigma?  Stop it!!  It is an illness just like any other.  It can be controlled!  You can live a “normal” life.  The setbacks for these people are started by ignorance, because of old school thinking, made to feel unwanted and socially unacceptable.  Again - Stop It!!

#14. Posted by Got you talkin' on June 05, 2018

Some people may bitch about the stupidity of wasting money on useless pamphlets but one thing that Mad Mom did this time is get people talking about it here. That’s a good thing that the diversity of the conversation sparked is bringing out the truth. #4 seems to be the most reasonable. Cheers everyone and think about it this way; stay alive if only just to watch the show!

#15. Posted by Richard on June 05, 2018

To #13. There is not a single drug on the market that heals anything, whether it be mental or physical. Drug Companies are even discussing internally whether they should look at developing drugs that cure disease as it wouldn’t be fanicially smart because it would mean that they would eventually run out of customers. I’ve done my homework, your the ignorant one believing all the propaganda out there.

#16. Posted by Sal on June 05, 2018

For the ignorant, there are many schizophrenics in Baffin, among other serious disorders that do require targeted medications to relieve symptoms.  When that person starts to feel better, they often think they do not need the meds anymore and go off of them and quickly deteriorate in a never-ending cycle.

Please do your homework and understand the roller coaster some of these people are on.

Some advice here is personal opinion, not medical science. That is always dangerous to others.

Help be supportive of someone with a mental illness, remove the stigma and encourage them to seek medical advice.

#17. Posted by Sue Hubley on June 06, 2018

#15 - I respect your views, truly. Propaganda - hmmm!  Living with a mental illness since the age of 17;  I believe that is called experience, not propaganda! I did not say that medications are a “cure”; only a method of management of the illness, along with counseling and positive support.

Mental illness affects so many, in so many different ways.  More open discussion on coping methods for family and friends as well as the one who suffers.  Educate and stop the stigma!

#18. Posted by olaf on June 07, 2018

Mad Mom sounds like she wants to reduce the stigma too.

She appears to want open dialogue on this subject.

Ignorance about the signs and symptoms does no one any favours and many on here are throwing in comments based on extreme ignorance.

Medications reduce the symptoms and allow the person to function better, give them a chance to contribute to society in a good way.  Nothing wrong with that.

#19. Posted by Illness on June 13, 2018

We are hurting as people living in the northern regions and the number one fault is we don’t want to deal with our own faults and would rather Blame the qallunaaq but we as Inuit have our own Demond’s to deal with

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