Published on January 29th, 2018 | from CAMH

The Unsinkable Paulette Walker

The third episode of CAMH’s official podcast explores recovery, resilience and Bell Let’s Talk Day

By Sean O’Malley, Senior Media Relations Specialist, CAMH

Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting CAMH Peer Support Worker Paulette Walker knows how extraordinary her story is.

It is the story about how a traumatic childhood in her native Jamaica was the precursor to a two-decades-long struggle with addiction to crack cocaine on the streets of Toronto.

It is the story about how one person, saying the right words at the right time, can start someone on their road to recovery, and ultimately help save a life.

That man was Justice Paul Bentley, now deceased, who presided over the Toronto Drug Treatment Court that diverts people with criminal convictions for non-violent drug-related offences to places like CAMH.

The life he helped save, was Paulette Walker’s.

“Every morning I wake up, I give God thanks. I’m truly blessed,” she says on the third episode of the CAMH podcast. “The drug treatment court gave me a second chance at life.”

In this podcast, Paulette recounts to me and co-host Dr. David Goldbloom her remarkable journey from the depths of despair and back.

We are also joined by the Honourable Justice Mary Hogan, who presides over the Toronto Drug Treatment Court today.  She talks about how this progressive model for dealing with people before the courts with substance use issues has helped many other Paulettes turn their lives around.

You can listen to our intimate and inspirational conversation here or in the media player below.

You can also see her story come to life on television on Bell Let’s Talk’s Day on Wednesday, during a prime time special at 7 p.m. on CTV.

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