Debbie is a resourceful mother of 4 children who works hard to find the bright side and the life lessons amid many struggles and difficulties. She is a recovering alcoholic, working to understand and move past the emotional difficulties that haunted her.
Debbie grew up in an abusive, alcoholic, low-income family and is on the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit because of severe depression and anxiety. Her current mental health problems began after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. At the time, she was working the night shift at a Kingston call centre, caring for three young children, and getting little sleep. The attacks triggered a post-traumatic stress response that left her unable to work and made it difficult for her to leave her home.
Because she was on the CPP disability benefit and not the Ontario Disability Support Program, Debbie did not have coverage for prescription medications, dental services or vision care. The family’s out of pocket health care expenditures were significant. Debbie paid $200/month for her own medication but couldn’t afford new glasses for her deteriorating eyesight, nor the hearing aid that she needed. One of her sons needed new glasses every year and had been prescribed medication that Debbie couldn’t afford. Her church had paid for medication that her daughter had needed.
Debbie was proud of her own creativity and resourcefulness, taking advantage of free activities for her kids and tapping available resources to help her meet their needs. Members of her church were a big help to her, bringing her food, clothing, furniture and Christmas presents. She wished she could buy it herself, but was grateful for the support and didn’t know how she would manage without them.