Gislain Ouellette’s Story

I wish I was diagnosed earlier, so I could have had this quality of life sooner.

Imagine, dropping out of school at age 15; moving out on your own at 16 and changing jobs as often as your mood. That was me 20 years ago. Looking back, I can track my illness to as early as 12 years old. I was living in a small community and burning bridges quickly.

At the time I thought I was a typical rebellious kid, skipping school and bailing out on work. I wasn’t diagnosed with my mental illness until I was 23, but thanks to generous donors children in your community have access to comprehensive specialized mental health services through the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the North Bay Regional Health Centre. I wish I was diagnosed earlier, so I could have had this quality of life sooner.

I experienced most problems in my late teens and early twenties. Like many others I turned to alcohol and drugs, a common outcome for those with an undiagnosed mental illness. Late adolescence and early adulthood are peak years for the onset of bipolar disorders and it can take years before a diagnosis is confirmed and the proper treatments put in place.

It took some time, and several hospitalizations before I could manage my illness. It was a tough road, but I can happily say that my illness no longer controls me. I now work with others sharing my experiences, helping them manage their illness and getting them connected to community support systems.

Like me, most patients I work with experienced the onset of their mental illness during adolescence. This is true for schizophrenia, major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Recognizing these symptoms early is important for early diagnosis and management. The earlier they’re diagnosed, the sooner a child can manage their illness and thrive.

That’s why we need your help. Your generous gift today can save a child from pain and open up a world of opportunities. Your donation helps provide key support to the essential programming and services offered through the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit.


An estimated 20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder. It is heartbreaking to think we lose an average of two young Canadians to suicide every day. I myself experienced thoughts of suicide many times throughout my adolescence and early adulthood until being diagnosed. Supporting early intervention, diagnosis and treatment programs for youth is the best way you can help change this statistic and lives.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit has only been operating 11 months and already cared for over 100 children between the ages of 4 and 18. That is more than double the number of children served the previous year when the program was only offered in Sudbury. Accessibility saves lives!

Generous friends like you make it possible for the new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at NBRHC to continue to provide specialized services to over 100 children annually. Furthermore, over 22,700 of adult mental health patients are helped every year through NBRHC’s inpatient facilities in Sudbury and North Bay, and outpatient services throughout the region.

You can help children in your community continue to have access to this important regional service close to home and ensure they have the quality of life I didn’t have.

Thank you in advance for helping us work towards changing the lives of children in your region.

– Gislain Ouellette