Mental health: Simone's inspiring story

Simone doesn’t identify with either gender, therefore the pronouns they and their are used in this story.

Simone is not afraid to talk about their journey through mental illness. Three years ago they were admitted to the Children’s Psychiatry Unit to receive treatment for suicidal ideation and self-harm. “I wasn’t feeling well and I felt very alone,” they say. So they told their parents that they were not exaggerating their feelings and needed to go to the hospital.

“Had I never spoken up, my parents would not have known what I was going through,” they say. 

They spent a week on the unit where they received a lot of help. Two years later, they decided to give back. Simone focused on the Children’s Psychiatry Unit by preparing care packages for the patients. They then moved their fundraising efforts online where they raised $7,642 to buy essential items like clothes, toothbrushes, and toothpaste for the patients on the unit.

These essentials go a long way to support patients. Michèle Paquette, Nurse Manager of the Psychiatry Unit, explains that the unit doesn't receive funding to purchase them. Sometimes, patients are admitted directly from the Emergency Department or come from far away, meaning it may be days before they have anything other than the clothes they were wearing at the time they were admitted. “Patients feel more comfortable when they have clean clothes and personal hygiene items to care for themselves. When their basic needs are met, it is easier to address their psychological needs,” she says. 

Simone is now studying visual arts at Dawson College and they are determined to continue to advocate for mental health in young people. “It can be easier to ignore mental health problems than to speak about them,” Simone says. “The hardest part for me was feeling alone, and no one should feel that way.”

Let's talk

On January 29, everyone will be talking about mental health. This is the perfect reminder that mental health is just as important as physical health, especially in children and adolescents. #BellLetsTalk