Posted in Dementia, Mental Health, Stigma Talks, video

A word about World Suicide Prevention Day

Mural street art – Montréal Clr’13

Another glorious day, he thought, looking out the window when he pulled his thick drapes in his studio.   Shuffling to the kitchen to make his coffee, the same thoughts come flooding his mind.

“Yep, today, I need to get out. I need to pump air in the tires of my bike and get off my butt and greet the world!!”  He snickers at that thought, picking up his laptop and sits in the darkness of his studio apartment.  He knows he will probably not go out…again.  He will probably not do much but sit, read the feeds on social media and try to distract the gnawing voices in his head that weigh so heavily on his spirit…

Sound familiar?  Been there, you are thinking, bobbing your head?  If you know someone may be going through something like that, send them a friendly text…just a heart or two maybe…tell them they matter before it’s too late.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).

[…It is estimated that each day in Canada, 11 people end their life and 210 make a suicide attempt.”] read more here -SuicidePrevention

Suicide is very inclusive.  Did you know that?  It includes anyone regardless of age, culture and socio-economic status.  A person can be loved by friends and family, have good grades in school or college, have a great job and still become another tragic statistic.

So today, think of something you can do for WorldSuicidePreventionDay (WSPD)…like the link says above , take just one minute to do something…share a story, an awareness post, call a friend, text a friend…just one minute.

I am ending with a song that has saved many lives. My friend, Sue, shared this song in memory of her son, Adam.

©Cheryl-Lynn Roberts 2017/09/10

CMHACanadian Mental Health Association

Canadian Crisis Centres – resources and helplines

Canadian Crisis Centres – resources and helplines

National Suicide Hotline U.S.A.

Kids Help Phone – Canada

Child Helplines around the world


“Adam’s Song”

I never thought I’d die alone
I laughed the loudest who’d have known?
I trace the cord back to the wall
No wonder it was never plugged in at all
I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine I didn’t think enough
I’m too depressed to go on
You’ll be sorry when I’m gone

I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn’t wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over we’d survived
I couldn’t wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

I never thought I’d die alone
Another six months I’ll be unknown
Give all my things to all my friends
You’ll never step foot in my room again
You’ll close it off, board it up
Remember the time that I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her fault

I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn’t wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over we’d survived
I couldn’t wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

I never conquered, rarely came
But tomorrow holds such better days
Days when I can still feel alive
When I can’t wait to get outside
The world is wide, the time goes by
The tour is over, I’ve survived
I can’t wait till I get home
To pass the time in my room alone



Posted in Mental Health, Stigma Talks, video

A story about a “Pill Journey”.

How many of you have gone through months of feeling more than sluggish and deep inside you know it might be depression because the symptoms are there?  Insomnia at night and wanting to bury yourself under that duvet when it’s time to get up.  What about loss of appetite?  For some it is eating and eating and eating some more to fill that void.  Why is an “emptiness” so painful?  Shouldn’t one feel relieved to not feel a heavy weight pressing on our shoulders?  Oh wait, what about feeling like a truck drove over you and decided to park on your chest for a few hours a day.  Ever feel like your mind is racing so much with “What if”s” you feel like you are on an out-of-control merry-go-round and you’re afraid to try and get off because you may NOT survive the fall?

Adults worry.  Mothers worry about the safety of their children. Fathers worry (working moms too) if they will be able to maintain a decent home; Parents worry when they have to say “no” to private lessons in this and that.  Not all kids have the luxury of playing sports.  But do children worry too?  Sure they do.  They are little sponges soaking up all the vibes in the home, at school on the playground and unfortunately on the bloody tube…internet, tv, computer, tablet…heck, even on their Ipod!  All things that were made to entertain youths has drawn them into another world…of hopelessness.  Children sure don’t see the world the way I did as a kid.  Heck, at five I just wanted to be Dale Evans riding into the sunset with RoyRogers and when I really fantasized, I was Marilyn Monroe in a pink convertible Cadillac!  But did I worry?  I guess I did too when my mother looked sad or cried but I quickly forgot about all that when I watched Mighty Mouse or Donald Duck.  Television was monitored in our home so we did not watch violent shows.  The news? It just was not graphic as it is today.  My first memory of a “sad news” was watching the funeral procession for John F. Kennedy and feeling so sad for the children.  I could not imagine losing a father so young! Gosh, I was still missing my grandfather I had lost at 6!!

These days, through my work, I am aware how children and teens worry and many do suffer from depression.  Some are lucky and get the help they need but as they share with us, it certainly can be a long journey before they get a proper diagnosis and the proper treatment required.  It gets complicated with youths.  Their brain is still developing and once a health care profession finds the right dosage of a particular medication, their brain tweaked a little more.  I admire anyone (youths and adults) who continue to get the support they need for their mental health and become more self-aware so they are part of the equation in their treatment.  That’s right, they are the expert on what is going on in their mind, their body and their spirit…what they contribute only gets them that much closer to finding a proper treatment leading to recovery.

I just saw this video I am going to share here and it says it so much better than I could ever, so, take a look and listen. You may have to watch it a few times to allow the “common sense” to sink in.

This is a testimonial of a person’s “Pill Journey”.  I have listed mental health resources below.

©Cheryl-Lynn Roberts 2017/07/26

CMHACanadian Mental Health Association

Canadian Crisis Centres – resources and helplines

Canadian Crisis Centres – resources and helplines

National Suicide Hotline U.S.A.

Kids Help Phone – Canada

Child Helplines around the world

Other links and resources on my Page here

Posted in Did you know?, Stigma Talks, video

Sir George Williams Riot

Concordia professor Clarence Bayne (left), director Mina Shum and producer Selwyn Jacob across the street from the Henry F. Hall Building of Concordia University. (National Film Board of Canada photo.)
Concordia professor Clarence Bayne (left), director Mina Shum and producer Selwyn Jacob across the street from the Henry F. Hall Building of Concordia University. (National Film Board of Canada photo.)


On this day, January 15,  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, the “Ninth Floor” will be shown at le Cinéma du Parc tonight in Montréal. It is a documentary on the events that took place at Sir George Williams University (now part of Concordia University) in 1969.   

 I was going to O’Sullivan Business College, just a few blocks away at the time. I remember the computer stand-off.  I was boarding  at my aunt’s in Montreal at the time, and still a very naïve small town girl.  I was uneasy speaking English in public at that time for tension was mounting with the Separatist movement and later on was the October Crisis with the FLQ (Federation Liberation du Québec).  I remember tucking away the Montreal Star in my bag when traveling on public transit to avoid any possible confrontation.

In the spring of 1968, six Black Caribbean students at Sir George Williams  accused a biology lecturer of racism complaining the teacher was handing out failing grades to all his Black students, regardless of the quality of their work. (Credits: Black History Canada

I remember my family telling me not to walk by the Henry Hall building on boulevard de Maisonneuve, in case there would be riots.  And there was a riot!

Reading more about the events back then, today I shake my head in disgust at how our city, our province and our country mistreated students standing up for justice.  It IS fitting that this film be viewed tonight.  It shows events never seen or reported (so much was distorted) to the public of the largest student uprising in Canadian history, the Sir George Williams Computer Riot, February 11, 1969. February, which is also Black History month…interesting how history plays out.

Read more here:

Concordia University Archives

Nouveau Cinéma, Ninth Floor

The Montreal Gazette

Mostly Movies

Rosie Douglas




Posted in Depression, Mental Health, Stigma Talks, video

Aiming for hope

Teenager sitting on floor of tunnel looking down
Photo credits: CAMH

Youth in Depression – CAMH

They call in the evening.  They call late into the night. They cannot understand why they feel so depressed.  They are teens and young adults…some are even pre-teens.  They ask me why they should continue?

The pain travels through space into my ear…they are misunderstood, treatments keep changing with little or no windows of sunshine peeking into their long dark lives. Some are even told, it’s just a teenage phase…get over it…pull it together!

 Too often, I hang up feeling powerless, wondering if they will heed  our verbal contract …to hang in one more hour, one more day…to reach out one more time. 

Many adults finally get treatment for their mental health only discovering many times it started when they were teens.  Experts in psychiatry say if a teen gets treatment for depression, for example, the recovery can be so much shorter than, if they wait until they are adults, the recovery is longer.  This information sometimes gets a youth’s attention and I am hoping they will find the help they need…deserve.

This morning,  I read this article on my friend/colleague’s Facebook page here about people from all over the world coming together to share their findings…professionals going back to the drawing board to study, do more research; to connect with those who have been working in isolation… to listen and try to find better treatments for depression in youths…to prevent suicides. 

It only makes sense that a youth may not manage well on an “adult’s cocktail” even if  professionals keep tweaking it.  “Trial and error”,  I sometimes try to explain the complexity of a youth’s unique, amazing and ever changing brain.” What do I know? I am not a medical or psychiatric expert?   And, deep down in my heart, I am frustrated.

And then this article I just read  by “Toronto’s CAMH (Canadian Ass. of Mental Health)  who have launched a new centre dedicated to child and youth depression.”  Let`s hope this video also reaches people to raise awareness…raise funding so researches globally,  can find better “cocktails” and treatment geared to youths, come to understand the complexities of their brains…finally give them hope…their friends and family hope…

© Cheryl-Lynn R. 2015/10/09

Resources: Youth and Child Depression CAMH

Centre Dedicated to Youth and Child Depression

Young Minds’ Stigma Keeps Youths Suffering – Global News

Posted in Did you know?, Learning Differences, Re-blogs, video

Introduction to Cri du Chat Syndrome

A mother’s love, a daughter’s strength in the face of challenges, and lots more I’ve learned here.  After you read this reblog, here is the  School Presentation our writer talks about which I would subtitle, “After you say Hello, what do YOU really think of me?”

Lessons from my daughter

A month ago, I shared the Cri du chat awareness video with Emily’s resource teacher.

Emily appears in this video 4 times which, to her, is the equivalent of being a movie star!


Since she was little, I have allowed Emily to make her own decisions.  I have allowed her to fall, to get hurt sometimes, to taste vinegar and lemon juice…..  but most importantly, I have allowed her to learn how to make a decision!

Within a couple of days of us having the awareness video, she told me she wanted to present it to her class….


I didn’t see that one coming.

Emily knows she has a rare syndrome, she knows she is different and she knows that different is awesome because normal is boring!!!  🙂

Sometimes, she is sad about being different… she wants friends and a boyfriend but quickly she’s back being her happy…

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Posted in Bullying, Depression, Mental Health, video

Thoughts on Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night)

I just watched Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night) with a 2014 joint Belgian-French-Italian production starring Marion Cotillard (La vie en rose), who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Sandra, a Belgian working mother /wife who is faced with a  simple and time sensitive challenge. Within two days, Sandra must reach her 16 co-workers and organize them for an important vote.

From the start we feel for Sandra and her pain realizing that after being off work for depression, management realizes they can be more competitive with one employee less which gives the remaining employees a bonus and three hours weekly overtime to compensate for abolishing Sandra’s position.

I keep vacillating between wanting to shout for the rights of people who have suffered mental illness and screaming in the faces of working class employees who are not  showing their solidarity.  It angers me, it frustrates me to see how management can entice people with money and scares them about their job safety.

And then there is the flip side where this woman, who has battled mental illness and feels like giving up but at the risk of allowing her colleagues to get their “promised” bonus she questions her rights and self-confidence starts to slip.  Her husband continues to encourage her.

This movie is so real…we see the struggles and how families are all impacted by mental health and it warms my heart to see Sandra’s husband root for her, believe in her and encourage her.  I keep thinking that if she does not get her job back, this is a human rights issue but then again, how many have the time and money to fight cases like this.

Management and some greedy employees threaten others to vote for a bonus which is the same as voting Sandra out of her job.  A manager scared employees by saying if they did not vote Sandra out, they would lose their job.  It is sad to see the “divide and conquer” approach and I can see how the company is trying to remain competitive but their tactics are so very wrong.

The movie hits many nerves…human rights, mental illness, human greed, abuse of power but mostly I was proud to see a show of integrity by some humans who know what is important in life.

The movie brought up old memories of a steel company where I worked and the employees voted for their raises which would lay off many employees…they were going through a rough patch and if everyone would have worked 4 days a week (and believe me, they had great salaries!) they could have weathered through that economic crisis.

They show working class as the targets of such issues and we all know it happens everywhere but in other places employees do not EVEN have a say.  When some companies have to eliminate a few jobs during financial difficulties, they rehire new people a year or two later with just a new title for the same job.  Meanwhile, do they know how it impacts on the people they let go?  If a person is 20 or 30, it is tough but they will find something eventually but what happens to people over 50?!! We are seeing more and more of this and I find it sad…very sad.

To read  more about this movie here is a link Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two days, One night)

and here at Film Review: Deux jours, une nuit (Two days, One Night)

Posted in Depression, Did you know?, Mental Health, Self-care, video

Dance like no one is looking

Stress…how do you manage it?  Moody blues, can you overcome them and if you can’t, what about taking a break from sadness, worries ( the old fashion anxiety we all too often label now) and stress?

I often suggest to youths to exercise, dance, jog, take a brisk walk around the block because we know it is cold in most places in Canada, do yoga or Tai chi…movements do not have to be fast…it is the movement in itself that is therapeutic and in so many cases, it is healing.

I have always enjoyed dancing but have never been a very good one. I would practice as a teen before going to a dance some special line dances, listen to lots of Motown and allow the music to move my body.  I’ve noticed when you enjoy the music, your body seems to respond so much better.  When the children were younger I would dance and they would laugh at Mommy who looked silly…actually they probably still think the same thing and they are 30 something!  What has changed over the years  however is that I let my guard down in my late 40’s.  I would dance now with freedom because my internal voice said, “Dance your heart out like no one is looking!”    I had a regular place I loved to go dancing in Toronto that had live R & B music every day with no cover charge!  We had a group of friends that went regularly and it was fun.

One friend told me I reminded him of Carmen Diaz in her role in Charlie’s Angels.  I remember saying, “I thought I danced better than that!” But what he meant was her free spirited…laissez-faire attitude and for that I would agree and consider that a compliment.

Dance like no one is watching and you will certainly lower the stress in your life…even if it’s just for a few hours…it is free, healthy (but don’t like that stop you) and FUN!

Here is a video that will put a smile on your face…watch and see, I dare you.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2015/801/13

Inspired by this post at The Kintsugi Girl

Posted in Compassion, Re-blogs, video


Bless you, Johahlisa and Convenant house for making a difference in the life of this amazing and beautiful girl, Cheryl-Lynn

Social Action 2014

Jonahlisa is a homeless youth in New York City. She says there are times you just want to break down and give up.

Jonahlisa says she has been homeless most of her life. At 2, her mother placed her in foster care and she then bounced from placement to placement. Jonahlisa experienced her first night of street homelessness at 9 years-old. To me, just the thought of any child that young on the streets messes me up.

The good news is Jonahlisa is a Covenant House, one of my favorite youth programs. Jonahlisa now has a job, and thanks to a program run by Jonahlisa- she will soon have her own apartment and will be going to school.

Special thanks to Hanes and Covenant House

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