Trigger Warning: The content below contains information on mental illness and suicide which some readers may find triggering. If you need support, please contact the Ontario Shores crisis line: 1-800-263-2679.

A full and joyful life: Bryanna’s Story

Her mental health spiralling, at 15 years old Bryanna didn’t believe she’d live to see adulthood. Just getting out of bed and attending school felt impossible.

A pediatrician brushed off her concerns, suggesting she was simply working too hard. But Bryanna knew something was very wrong. Then, at just 16 years old, she attempted suicide.

Bryanna was in and out of the hospital over the next few years, prescribed medications that didn’t seem to help. She felt like a science experiment, frustrated by trying pill after pill with no success. After lots of trial and error, Bryanna finally received accurate diagnoses from a new psychiatrist: she was living with both Bipolar Disorder and Bordeline Personality Disorder.

For the first time in years, Bryanna felt hopeful. But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges for her mental health.

A frontline worker, working in a grocery store deli, she’s anxious she’ll be exposed to the virus – and that she’ll bring it home, where she lives with her elderly grandmother. While the “new normal” has not been easy to adapt to, thanks to the support she’s received she feels more equipped to cope with the challenges she faces. Bryanna spends time reading, taking photos, seeing friends at a safe social distance, and going for drives to clear her head. Things may not be easy, but they’re far more manageable.

“I’m at a place I never imagined I would get to in my life,” Bryanna says. “Not being okay is okay. Living a full and joyful life with mental illness is possible.”

By supporting Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, you can ensure more people like Bryanna are able to do exactly that: live full and joyful lives with mental illness. Together, we can remove barriers to getting help and show people in our province they’re not alone in their struggles.

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