Walking on the Train Tracks: Living with Schizophrenia and Recovery —
12:30pm-1:30pm @ East Common Room
Jesse Bigelow is someone with lived experience of having mental health and addictions issues. Throughout high school Jesse experimented with a number of different street drugs. It was only when he got clean from the drugs and the psychosis persisted that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Between his diagnosis in 1999 and 2002 he was extremely ill, hearing voices, having religious delusions and paranoia amongst other symptoms. After being hospitalized and put on an anti-psychotic, Jesse made a remarkable comeback! Jesse gained insight into his illness and entered recovery. In 2007 he got a job at the Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region as a Peer Support Worker on their early intervention team, the HOPE(Help Overcome Psychosis Early) team. In 2014 he moved to the Community Connections team, also with CMHA YR. He is very active in speaking out and educating people about his illness. He speaks to a wide variety of audiences. He has won awards, such as the Transforming Lives Award from CAMH and the Flag of Hope Award from the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. He most recently has completed a two month contract at CAMH following up on a survey completed by clients to find out what CAMH is doing well and where it can improve.