Skip to content

The struggle with mental illness is real

'I just want to bring awareness because I need help'
2021-05-06 Depression
Stock image

Jackie has been living in North Bay for 25 years and now she's at a point where she does not know if she can live here anymore.  

Jackie suffers from a number of medical issues including Fibromyalgia and ADHD. She has been in and out of psychiatric care at the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

She has been arrested and called "The Psycho Bitch From Halloween," after severely cutting herself during her mental struggles.  

Jackie is not homeless, yet. 

She is living in a low-income apartment on Lindsay Street on her fixed income. She has been told that she's evicted in September. 

 "First of all there is no help for mental illness," said Jackie. 

"Now I do not have my medicine anymore, I do not have a doctor. I am on a waiting list for everything. The Emergency is not a place to prescribe medicine or the walk-in clinic either, so I am on my own.

"I am trying to deal with it with no medicine. I am trying to go back to school, go back to work but everything is going downhill as there are no resources here in North Bay." 

Jackie says she is not alone in here mental health struggles in her family. She says she's lost two brothers who lived on the streets of Montreal.   

"There is a crisis here in North Bay. I used to love the community and now there is a lack of mental health resources, there is a lack of safe and affordable housing. 

"I have dealt with the police and they never do anything and I know they are overwhelmed. They probably don't have the resources and more serious crime to deal with.

"I just want to bring awareness because I need help."  

Jackie says she sees too many people in North Bay die of suicide or drug overdosing.  

She says she used to help at PEP, also known as People for Equal Partnership in Mental Health, but she says many of the people that were being helped there are now back on the street on drugs.  

"Everyone who was in recovery is back on drugs and alcohol because they do not have their medication and they are homeless," she said. 

"That is just a mess," said Jackie, who went to University in Sherbrooke and has been trying to do some French tutoring at her apartment.  

"I know I cannot throw myself in front of the traffic, I know I cannot kill myself but now I am not sure if I am going to make it, so I have really no clue what is going to happen to me," said the 55-year-old.  

Jackie says she has not been assigned a caseworker who could potentially help her navigate through some of these challenges. 

She hopes community leaders can help turn things around for her and others suffering from mental illness.  

"They have millions injected into helping the homeless, but I really don't see it," she said. 

"I just see less service everywhere and now we have no doctors, no psychiatrists in North Bay. Good luck if you find a psychiatrist."  

Jackie believes her only glimmer of hope is finding a way to a new community that will help her. 

"I don't think anyhow is going to help me here because I have been everywhere," she said.  

"I think I'd rather apply for assistance to die."    

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
Read more