OTTAWA – Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes remembers being on a train, tears streaming down her face, trying to pull herself together before anyone could recognize her.
The Ontario MP was at a low point in her ongoing struggle with depression and despite her political success and a supportive family, she found herself feeling embarrassed, guilty and internalizing the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Now, she has decided to speak out about her experience to let others know they are not alone, encourage them to seek help and push her colleagues – including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – to do more on the issue of mental health.
WATCH: Plane Talk with Celina Caesar-Chavannes
Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has said she wants the new health accord being negotiated with the provinces to address better access for mental-health services.
Louise Bradley of the Mental Health Commission of Canada says mental- health care has been chronically underfunded and while it is good that people are being encouraged to get help, they sometimes find a wait list more than a year long.
Bradley is calling on the federal government to earmark money for mental health and to measure where and how it is spent.