I guess I should start by saying the intention of Advocate Tuesday is to build a resource to help understand mental illness in Canada. It is intended for both professionals and consumers.  I’ve long been an advocate for mental health (and addictions and homelessness, too).

Why the reference to Tuesday?  It was Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 that I had the notion that I should share a combination of my training and career experiences with a ton of lived experiences.  No other secret reasoning.

I will aim for adding three written blog items weekly, as well as two video blogs weekly (10-15 minutes at most, honestly.)  A newsletter will go out Friday by noon if the world stays together as planned.

I tend to toss humour around.  Often, laughing really is my best medicine.  I also share a great deal of vulnerability.  I open up and share, with hopes that I can offer an honest look at life.  Between humour and vulnerability, I hope to catch your attention.  Please understand it can be difficult for me to open up, but I see value to you in it.

I bring a wealth of understanding and experience in the social sciences, including:

  • a BA double-majoring in psychology and sociology from Wilfrid Laurier University
  • 8 years as a caseworker in Ontario Works
  • 4 years as an outreach coordinator with hard-to-employee clients within Ontario Works
  • time spent as an outpatient mobile crisis worker
  • a stint as an outreach manager with the Canadian Mental Health Association
  • several years as a supportive housing outreach coordinator with The Bridges at the Cambridge Shelter in Galt, ON
  • several years as a supportive housing worker for disadvantaged, homeless youth for Cambridge Kiwanis Non-Profit Housing
  • had a six-month contract as an online communications specialist with a regional health unit.
  • Oh, and I was the communications guy for radio stations CHYM, KIX106, and 570 News in Kitchener.

Rick CouchmanIf nothing else, I find my vast lived experience with severe, medication-resistant depression and general anxiety disorder helps others. I’ve been hospitalized a dozen times for the affliction, including a couple of suicide attempts. I have also tried ECT and rTMS procedures in the past 6 years, as well as numerous CBT and DBT therapies over the past decade. Name a psych med, and I’ve likely been on it.

My coolest gig was working a couple of decades as a part-time journalist covering the Toronto Maple Leafs (which is God’s team, we’re sure.)  Sadly I’ve been on disability for more than a decade, all stemming from that damned depression and anxiety.  The good is mixed with the not-so-good.  Thank God for the Canada Pension Plan.

The four legged office assistant is Murphy.  He was born May 4, 2020 and has quickly become a loyal friend and confidant.  I’m always looking to him for his opinion on small business items.  A wag of the tail is all that’s needed.  He likes to chew my shoes, but I’ve got him trained to the point where he now at least waits for me to take them off before he starts gnawing.  He’s cute, smart, and helps me through insurmountable issues.  He’s my own little therapist.  Get a dog. So good for mental health.

I’m so lucky to say I’m happily married, with wife Sherry and two awesome kids in their 20s, living in Cambridge, Ontario.

Feel free to email me anytime!

Please note:  * The comments and advice on Advocate Tuesday should not supersede the advice of medical experts. If you are in crisis, please call 911 or  1-833-456-4566 (24/7) *