Stamp Out Stigma: Kathy's Recovery Journey

World Mental Health Day 2019

“I was facing toxic relationships, a toxic workplace, I had family issues. Personally I didn’t know how to cope with it. Everyone around me said that it was just fine, it’s all in your head. Even my doctors would not diagnose me – I felt very rejected by the system,” said Kathy, an individual receiving services from the Access to Resources and Community Supports (ARCS) partnership.

Kathy sought help from her family doctor and university school councilors, but didn’t get the answers she was looking for. Her case manager, David, said that, “often people don’t get taken seriously, especially young women, in the mental health system. It’s a systemic issue. That’s just been my experience. But the pain and trauma Kathy was feeling was real.”

Kathy is an individual receiving supports from the ARCS program
Kathy (individual receiving supports from the ARCS program)

I was in denial about living with a social stigma. I kept telling myself there's nothing wrong with me.

- Kathy

She was admitted to North York General Hospital. “North York General took my issues seriously and set me up with two specialist appointments. But they said it would be a couple of months. That’s when they referred me to ARCS and the response time was very quick,” she said. This is Kathy’s recovery journey:

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Kathy’s experience this past year has opened up her eyes. “I am more empathetic to how people are feeling because you never know what people are living with or dealing with at home.” Especially in the workplace, where she herself faced an un-supportive environment, Kathy hopes that employers will start to be more empathetic as well.

In April of this year, she successfully graduated from York U with a degree in Human Resources (HR). She looks forward to applying the knowledge she gained from her own journey to her career in HR. “If someone has a mental health breakdown at work, instead of firing them, talk to them and get to know them. It improves workplace culture.”

ARCS is an emergency department diversion service providing short-term case management to individuals with mental health and/or addiction issues. The team received 817 referrals from Humber River Hospital and North York General Hospital this past fiscal year. Further,

Graphic depicting that the ARCS program made 590+ community connections

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