Book hopes to bust stereotypes about addictions and mental health

There's a renewed push to help combat stereotypes about addictions and mental health. A book called "People, Places and Things: Inspirational Voices from Canada's Drug Treatment Courts" shares dozens of stories from Canadians with different perspectives on the issues.

Personal stories, art and poetry come from clients, judges, counsellors and others in the court system

A book hopes to reduce stigma and increase compassion for those who struggle with addiction and break the law. (submitted)

There's a renewed push to help combat stereotypes about addictions and mental health. A book called People, Places and Things: Inspirational Voices from Canada's Drug Treatment Courts shares dozens of stories from Canadians with different perspectives on the issues.

The stories come from people who have come in conflict with the law as well as others involved in the system.

"This book is a compilation of stories, artwork and poetry from drug treatment court (DTC) participants from around Canada and also DTC alumni, judges and some of the other practitioners who worked in the court," said Joanne Humphrey, a mental health and addictions counsellor with Addiction Services Thames Valley.

Joanne Humphrey is a mental health and addiction counsellor with Addiction Services Thames Valley in London, On. (submitted)

Some tell stories of their journey into addiction, said Humphrey, but others speak about being transformed by the therapy and compassion they received from the court system. 

"You're going to get a lot of really raw stories of how their addiction affected them and their struggle of trying to get out of addiction," said Humphrey. 

Most never envision going down the path of addiction and crime; moving beyond those challenges can be daunting. 

One of the goals of the book is to show readers that there's more to the individuals who commit the crimes than their behaviour.

"It's just one piece of their story and there's real people behind some of those actions, behaviours and addictions," said Humphrey. "There's trauma, there's struggles, there's strength, there's hope."

Breaking the stigma

Humphrey believes the stories might help those who haven't faced similar struggles find more compassion for those who have. 

"These are stories that people need to hear so they can understand what addiction is really about," she said. "We want to decrease stigma and we want to increase compassion."

The book is available through Amazon and Friesen Press. 

All proceeds go to the Canadian Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals. 

A book edited by a London woman is uncovering the reality of those living with addiction in Canada. Guest host Jonathan Pinto spoke to Joanne Humphrey from Addiction Services Thames Valley about "People, Places and Things: Inspirational Voices from Canada's Drug Treatment Courts." 6:29