My name is Tina Szymczak; the mom of two spirited boys.

Tina Szymczak is a proud graduate of University of Waterloo, both an undergraduate Psychology degree and Certificates in Social Work (General and Child Abuse). She has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to early intervention, advocacy, parenting children with disabilities as well as mental health (her own and her children) and infertility. As a mom and advocate, Tina is passionate about inclusion and her core intrinsic belief that she lives each and every day is that every individual deserves to live a full and engaging life in their home community.
Author Tina Szymczak
September 10, 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day

Before I begin let me start by saying the 24hr crisis line  for Windsor Essex is 519-973-4435. Crisis Services Canada is 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645 The following post could be triggering as I speak about depression, suicidal thoughts and actions Nothing makes me more mad or frustrated than to hear people saying a suicide attempt is attention seeking or a call for help with disdain in their voice. It’s the judgement that makes me furious, the misunderstanding, the unwillingness to feel just an ounce of empathy or compassion. Of course suicide is a call for help. Of course a suicidal person needs attention. Just as someone suffering a heart attack or a blunt force trauma needs medical attention. Suicidal people NEED […]
August 21, 2020

Podcast with CMHA Windsor Essex

I was asked to take part in the CMHA Windsor Essex podcast Keep Connected which you can watch here: And here is a link to the Open Letter I wrote about Mental Health services in our community
July 24, 2020

Let’s Talk Zero Suicide Model

Last time I wrote about suicide statistics and the need for a Federal Suicide Prevention Strategy.  Today I want to talk about the Zero Suicide (ZS) Model put forth by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. This is a framework and resources to coordinate a multilevel approach to implementing evidence-based practices for suicide prevention. It is founded on the principle that death by suicide is preventable for patients in behavioral health systems. There are Four components (Identify, Engage, Treat, and Transition) that address aspects of clinical care, while the other three (Lead, Train, and Improve) concern administrative approaches. Let’s look at them in the order they are presented on the Zero Suicide website. Lead – There are two main […]
July 23, 2020

Let’s Talk Suicide Prevention Strategy

11 people a day die by suicide in Canada , that’s over 4000 a year. Canada is the only G8 country without a national suicide prevention strategy – indeed one of the few industrialized countries in the world without one. – Centre for Suicide Prevention What is a National Suicide Prevention Strategy? According to suicideinfo.ca it is a road map which works to reduce risk factors for suicide while enhancing factors that build resilience both on a public health or population level, and on an individual or mental health level. What would this mean for Canada? Why do we need federal support for such an initiative? An influential survey by Matsubayashi and Ueda (2011) of 21 nations from 1980-2003, found that suicide […]
March 21, 2020

COVID 19 in the Year 2020

When I first heard of Coronavirus I brushed it off like many others. It sounded like SARS – serious and the need to be cautious for certain people but I didn’t feel it applied to me or my family. People began to panic and clear out the stores and I still thought they were over reacting. I mean, who needs that much toilet paper for a respiratory infection? What I wasn’t thinking about was a long period of self quarantine. I wasn’t thinking ahead to what supplies we did and didn’t have in our home. Then it moved to Italy and all kinds of people began to die including the Italian actor Luca Franzese whose sister died while they were […]
February 1, 2020

Bell Let’s Talk Day

I was honoured when Kim Willis, Director of Communications for CMHA Windsor Essex asked me to join her on the Dan MacDonald morning show on AM 800. I was nervous but immediately put at ease by Dan who shocked me by doing research and knowing about my blog and the Purple Project. If you have some time please listen to the podcast. Bell Let’s Talk Day 2020 am800 Round Table discussion (click the small arrow not the big red one). Many thanks to Dan, a knowledgeable and gracious host.
January 20, 2020

The Purple Project

A few months ago I wrote on my Facebook wall that I was struggling with my mental health and that it had prompted me to work on my Wellness Recovery Action Plan which is described on their site as “WRAP®, is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals. It is now used extensively by people in all kinds of circumstances, and by health care and mental health systems all over the […]
January 5, 2020

Keeping a Marriage Together

My husband and I have been together since I was 19 years old. We have been married for 24 years. Until last year it looked good from the outside, we didn’t often fight, no one was cheating, and we slept in the same bed. We spent all our time alone together in our house. How then did we end up separated for 4 months in 2018? There are three sides to story they say. Over the years my husband grew more and more angry. Most of my days were spent trying not to make him mad. This was a fool hardy task as it seemed he was always mad. Lightbulb burnt out, rant and rave. Child spilled a glass of […]
January 1, 2020

The Path to a Bipolar Diagnosis for a Preteen

Note: my son has given his permission for this information to be shared here The year my son turned 12 years old he had to attend a residential treatment program two hours from our home. He heard voices, had racing thoughts and was getting very little sleep. He was out of control and we feared for his safety. All the sharp objects in the house had to be locked up and someone had to be with him at all times. We were exhausted, confused and worried for the future. We did not understand what had happened to our sweet boy who, while he had exceptional needs, had never been out of control like that before. Professionals working with us, who […]
December 31, 2019

The Wonderful Year That Was 2019

When 2018 was nearing the end I couldn’t wait to see it go. With 2019 it has been such a fabulous year of personal growth, adventure and change that I am in awe of all that has happened. Beginning the very first weekend in January 2019 I went away by myself to Retro Suites in Chatham and stayed in the Study to concentrate on my writing. It was a great couple of nights, so very productive. It was on this trip that I wrote my piece that would later be featured on the OC87 website. It was also the first piece of writing that I received more than just a stipend for – I Want to Live: Turning a Corner […]