Health and Community Services
October 3, 2019

Minister Haggie Acknowledges Bell Islander Featured in National Mental Illness Awareness Campaign

October 6 to 12 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and the Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, is recognizing Donovan Taplin of Bell Island, who is featured in a national campaign entitled ‘Faces of Mental Illness’.

Presented by Bell Let’s Talk, the campaign is designed to help people understand the reality of mental illness. It features the stories of five Canadians living in recovery. By sharing his story, Mr. Taplin is showing what is possible when people living with mental illness have timely access to services. His story can be viewed on YouTube.

Mental Illness Awareness Week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association. The week is now co-ordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health in co-operation with its member organizations and other supporters across Canada.

The Provincial Government is taking steps to improve the way mental health and addictions services are delivered. Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador is a five-year vision to realize these improvements. Twenty-eight of the plan’s 54 recommendations are complete. The remaining 26 are in progress, and on track to be completed on time.

Some of the highlights completed as part of Towards Recovery include:

  • Wait times for counselling services reduced by 68 per cent
  • Doorways available in over 50 communities province-wide, including adult correctional facilities
  • Free e-mental health services available online at
  • Mobile crisis teams in place in St. John’s, Labrador City and Corner Brook
  • Rapid access to opioid dependence treatment like Suboxone and Methadone
  • An RFP has been issued for the new mental health and addictions hospital, with the successful proponent to be announced during summer 2020

“Congratulations to Donovan on being recognized in this year’s national campaign. His story of strength and resilience is an inspiration to us all. The stigma associated with mental illness exists predominately because of a lack of understanding. One of the key ways we can address stigma head on is to work side-by-side with people with lived experience, and involve them in the co-design and transformation of the health care system. Stigma should not be a barrier. We need to make mental illness a part of our daily conversation so that people can feel comfortable enough to speak up, to reach out, and get the help they need.”
Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Communities Services

- 30 -

Learn more
2019-2020 Faces of Mental Illnesses (Donovan Taplin) external link

Connectivity and the Road to Recovery: CAMIMH announces the Faces of Mental Illness for 2019-2020 external link

Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador

Follow us on Twitter:  @GovNL, external link and @HCS_GovNL external link

Media contact
Kathy Dicks-Peyton
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-1982

2019 10 03                                                    11:55 a.m.