Noah’s story

Noah Irvine's life has been anything but “normal.” When he was five, his mother died by suicide. When he was 15, his father died by prescription drug overdose. In childhood, he witnessed domestic violence. He has a learning disability. He has CPTSD. He writes about all this not to earn your sympathy. He writes about it because they are simply facts of his life. They are simply situations he has learned to live with. These events shaped the course of his life and made him the person he is today. 

These difficult moments brought Noah into contact with Canada’s mental health and addictions system. He quickly discovered the system was in crisis long before he was born. He learned that while politicians readily acknowledge the crisis, few are willing to take the bold steps needed to provide Canadians with the services they need. So, he took a bold step.

In Grade 11, he launched a national campaign to encourage politicians at all levels – federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal – and across all political parties to work together on the issue. He wrote approximately 1,500 letters to politicians and others who could have an impact on mental health and addictions policy. The biggest obstacle to progress, Noah discovered, is political partisanship. Politicians from all parties agree there is a crisis but the willingness to work together is lacking.  Noah’s message to politicians is clear: Put Canadians first. Give them the health care they deserve. In other words: step up and do better!

In Noah’s words

Read entire introduction to his book

"He’s gone.” The two most haunting words I have ever heard. Those two words changed the course of my life in an instant. Those two words informed me that my father had died of an accidental overdose and that I had become parentless. As a result of those two words, and after much thought and deliberation, I found it fitting to write my own story.

Some of you will wonder, as you begin reading this  story, " So, who are you anyway? " That is a good question. To put it simply, I am Noah. No special titles. I've grown up all of my life in Guelph, Ontario, and gone from elementary school to high school to university, all in the same town. All of this seems normal; all of what I have described is what most young people will do. However, this is far from my whole story. At face value, the way I look does not differ greatly from anyone else. You also would not see the story I have written on my back, but that story is there. It is a story of great loss and sacrifice.

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