Pride or Practicality – Michael’s Story


I often have the opportunity to speak as an equal with Mental Health Care providers, to discuss what I think is right, wrong or just different.  The following started as one of the conversations and is based on personal experiences.

I believe that there needs to be a change in the approach health care providers take in treating the mentally ill beginning as early as diagnosis.

I have lived in Calgary for 16 years, sometimes at home, with a caring family, for which I am grateful. AHS helped with accessing subsidized housing with CMHA/Horizon Housing.

A question I often ask myself is instead of meeting independence goals of an individual, should the mental health community focus on the family and community of an individual creating an equal in our society?

My early treatment and belief, centered on my personal, tough as nails, independent approach to surviving in our culture, has switched to being stable, family and community driven, and having a happier, healthier life inclusive of people who care for and about me. Being strong does not mean going it alone. Often strength is found in numbers.

I have been treated as an individual, with my own wants and needs, often having a health care team dedicated to me achieving them since diagnosis; mostly with no comparison to options or the practicality of those choices. PRIDE. I can make it alone in this world.

2014 stats show that in Canada, 42.3% of young adults lived at home, 48.9% in Japan, and in Europe up to 50-60% of young adults lived at home.

Question… If the general population has the attitude that together is stronger, that there is more to life than just surviving our world, that sharing our experiences, joys and struggles truly is a more accepted reality, how is it that the approach to mental health is focused on the individual and not all involved in that individuals life? Can the lessons of life be taught instead of “learned the hard way”, resulting in better decisions being made for that particular person. Sure there is “learning along the way” and the individual needs to take some degree of responsibility for their actions.

Our society is changing and our approach to treating mental health also needs to change. I believe we need to advocate family, community and inclusiveness of all in the multi-faceted gem we call society. WE should solve problems, not pick up the pieces. We should find ways to prevent a wrong situation instead of trying to deal with the outcome.

Personally, today I am an equal in my family. I share responsibilities and expenses after a long road of learning the hard way. Personally, if any experiences and lessons and compassion for others can make a better world, then job done; as a Canadian, as a son, as a disabled person, I have learned and believe that my thoughts and ideas are reflected in others.

I appreciate this opportunity to express my views and believe that there is a better way. That being practical with our care and our interactions as a culture and not holding on to self-PRIDE, we can all be stronger, we will not just survive, that we can really shape a better world.

Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at