August 6, 2021 | Online
A current student, enrolled in the Addictions and Community Services Worker program at CDI College’s North York campus, Leila was diagnosed with schizophrenia during the pandemic. She addresses how difficult dealing with mental illness can be, especially when you’re also navigating feelings of isolation and loneliness.
“As an addict, we cannot stay in one place. We have to be active, we have to be doing something,” says Leila. “It’s getting better now that things are starting to open up again.”
Leila started getting help through a counsellor, and was then recommended to see a psychiatrist. In order to get better, she’s an advocate of taking all the necessary steps to see her own progress and personal growth.
Leila describes that all she wanted was for the hallucinations to stop, but it wasn’t that easy. For her, it has been a combination of medication, self-care, mindfulness, and physical exercise such as walks. During the pandemic, Leila expresses how difficult it was for her, as she felt that Zoom and other virtual events were not adequate in meeting her social needs.
Using her own life experiences, and the desire to share her personal knowledge and expertise, Leila was motivated to go back to school and study in the Addictions and Community Services Worker program at CDI College.
“I’m really glad that I enrolled – I’m so happy with my instructors and my peers,” says Leila. “It’s really helping me to understand what I’m going through and what others might go through. I was an addict – but I’m constantly finding there were a lot of things I didn’t know!”
Leila is looking forward to graduating and working with other individuals battling mental illness and addiction, helping them to overcome their struggles. She wants to aid their own feelings of hopelessness and know that she’s making a difference.
“Help is out there and it’s free,” says Leila. “Take that chance to improve your life.”
Learn more about mental health during the pandemic and watch CDI College’s pre-recorded panel discussion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfqJqLixDAo.
Mental Health Support:
BC Mental Health Support Line: Call 310.6789 (no area code). This number will connect you to your local BC crisis line without a wait or busy signal, 24 hours a day. Crisis line workers are there to listen and support you as well as refer you to community resources.
Alberta Mental Health Helpline: 1.877.303.2642
Alberta Addictions Helpline: 1.866.332.2322
Telehealth Ontario: 1.866.797.0000
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1.833.456.4566 (24/7) or text 45645 (4pm to 12am ET).