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At Quinte Health, we couldn’t be prouder to have Dr. Colin MacPherson as our Chief of Staff. We were so touched by his note he sent to the Quinte Health team, that we wanted to share it with our community. Together, let’s make everyday a safe and open time to talk about mental health.  Quinte Health is a proud partner of the 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline service. Our trained responders are available to answer calls and provide support to anyone who is thinking about suicide or is worried about someone they know – call or text 9-8-8 anytime you need help.

Message from Dr. Colin MacPherson:  

On the occasion of Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s reflect on an irony: that the most courageous among us are often, at the same time, the most unnoticed and marginalized. 

It has been my privilege as a psychiatrist to care for many people with schizophrenia. Nothing that I have been through in my life compares to the shattering effects of this illness. I am a regular witness to the courage, determination, faith, and effort that is required to survive with schizophrenia, and, whatever my patient’s failures through the trials of this disease, I am inspired by their everyday successes, big or small.  So, let’s challenge the stigma. As with schizophrenia, so too with other severe mental illnesses and addictions. There are people among us who are heroic in the face of terrible misfortune, who bear shame, when they deserve pride. 

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s also reflect on this irony: that those who are most successful and respected among us are often, at the same time, the most alone in their suffering.  

It has been my privilege as a psychiatrist to care for successful people too. It has become clear to me that all of us—no matter how educated, wealthy, skilled, powerful, or popular—will, at some point, suffer with mental anguish. We live in a fast-paced, uncertain, often troubling world. We should all respect our own humanity, which means our own vulnerability. It is sad that anyone should suffer alone for fear of either appearing weak, or of appearing too well-off to warrant empathy. Let’s again challenge the stigma. Most forms of mental distress and impairment are not, in fact, exceptional, but common. There are people among us who are alone with common problems, who receive judgement, when they deserve understanding.

So let’s talk.

Let’s not cheat ourselves of the opportunities we have to be inspired by everyone around us. Let’s listen without judgement.

Stronger together. No one left alone.