Thank you Minister Tibollo, MPP and Attorney General Downey, and MPP Khanjin

Such an amazing meeting with the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo, MPP and Attorney General Doug Downey, MPP Andrea Khanjin and about 45 other community stakeholders today at the Sandbox in Barrie.

I am so excited to hear how passionate and dedicated these elected officials are about truly making a positive change to Ontario mental health and addiction care! This Minister knows what he’s talking about! It’s so refreshing. I can’t wait to share with you some of the services he will be implementing. And the MPP’s are so supportive of the Minister and his goals.

Moving forward, I will be working directly with the Minister to improve treatment options for women. I can’t wait to get started! He wants to hear lived experience voices. I am happy to be one, but I know that we need to hear many to make the biggest impact. I may be reaching out to you soon ❤️ I am grateful to have so many friends in this category. I am listening. The Ontario Government is listening.

This is just the beginning 🙏 For the first time in a very long time I feel like there is hope! The Minister also really liked the Rapid Access and Addiction Medicine (RAAM) model and toured the Barrie site today.

A HUGE special thank you goes out to Marc Hanuman Cohen who has helped me every step of the way to develop the model we presented today, tour treatment centres, research organizations, make connections with key players in this field, meet with parents who have lost loved ones, attend a conference, (and so much more!) and support me and my desperate need to make change. He’s a silent champion who deserves to be acknowledged 💕🙏.

Grateful beyond belief. XO


I Will Not Stay In My Lane When It Comes To Advocating For The Saving Of Lives

I will not stay in my lane (whatever that is) when it comes to advocating for the saving of lives. Please stop trying to get me to. You’re wasting your time. Work WITH me instead.

I’m what you call an apple cart upsetter; but I do so with respect and good intentions. But no matter how respectful and well intentioned I am, many of the people who pull these carts don’t like what I represent. Upsetting the apple cart often looks like me challenging agencies to do better, sooner, and to not make excuses. I have no political agenda when I do so. My intent is to save lives. Plain and simple! And if that means that I need to challenge well known, large agencies to stop working in siloed, ego-driven apple carts, I will; and I have.

Not everyone minds that I upset apple carts all over the place. Many individuals (most often the hands-on workers at these agencies) who have a passion for helping others and do so on a daily basis, see that my intentions are good. And that their ability to do their jobs to their fullest is often delayed by committees and boards that meet on an infrequent basis and rarely consult with them directly about their needs. I have experienced these massive gaps between the workers and board members first hand when I recently met with some executives of a very well known healthcare agency, and when I relayed specific asks from a department that was in need of some additional funding, (funding that I was prepared to request from the local MPP’s), I was told that the workers have no say in what is required and that I should leave the asks of the MPP’s to the Vice President of said healthcare agency because they were the one who was always at Queen’s Park. News flash: if I (and many others) were to have waited for Vice Presidents of agencies to ask at Queen’s Park for what first responders needed from WSIB, we may not have Bill 163, and an entirely new department at WSIB dedicated to mental wellness. I have every right to make requests of my MPP’s, just like all of the citizen’s of this province do.

Like it or not, I will request declarations of emergencies, public inquiries, create peer support groups, ask elected officials for meetings, share my likes and dislikes about certain agencies, share my lived experiences and get upset when I have to bury yet another friend because of deficiencies in our healthcare system.

When I upset the apple cart, I don’t do so just to be a nuisance, (trust me, I don’t have time for that), I often have a plan that needs to at least be considered seriously. I shine the light on siloed agencies so that they start to work in collaboration with one another, thus decreasing overlap, and hopefully freeing up funds that can be used in areas of need. Our mental health and addiction crisis in this province needs all hands on deck. We need to work together to find solutions to gaps in the system. We need to stop creating yet another board or committee to research what Ontarian’s need. We already know these answers. What we need is better care, now.

This Friday, I am meeting with MPP and Attorney General Doug Downey, MPP Andrea Khanjin, and Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Michael Tibollo, and am proposing a system-based transformation of our current provincial mental health and addiction treatment that will include:

1. Comprehensive, accessible and seamless addiction treatment pathways;
2. Low barrier residential and out-patient treatment; and
3. Improved physician addiction treatment and education.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I will not stay in my lane (whatever that is) when it comes to advocating for the saving of lives. Please stop trying to get me to. You’re wasting your time. Work WITH me instead.