‘Normal is a cycle on the dishwasher’

The latest show airing on NorthwesTel Community Television is aiming to open the floor to more conversations about mental health. Yukon State of Mind aired its first episode in the last week of October.

The latest show airing on NorthwesTel Community Television is aiming to open the floor to more conversations about mental health.

Yukon State of Mind aired its first episode in the last week of October.

Nataschaa Chatterton freely admits most of the small group of people involved had no idea what they were doing when they got together in August to talk about it.

“We all just kind of came really inspired by what we care most about. And we all have our own unique histories and stories with mental health,” said the Whitehorse-based counsellor and trauma therapist.

“That’s what inspired me, standing up for all the people I love, and myself.”

Unlike many of the shows that air on the community cable channel, where wannabe TV stars come to NorthwesTel with ideas, in this case the company reached out to residents.

Community TV manager Chris McNutt said they wanted to continue the momentum that was started earlier this year when Olympian Clara Hughes rode throughout the country as part of her Big Ride to raise awareness about mental health.

“(Clara’s) message was, ‘Let’s keep the conversation going about these issues,’” he said.

“It was like, well, we could help with that. That’s something we can do, keep that conversation going, and this is how we can do it.”

The first episode focused on challenging the stigma that comes with mental health issues. In a way, that’s the goal of the entire series.

“I think a big part of it is the education aspect. Demystifying mental illness. The statistics say one in five, but we’re all affected. Whether it be us personally, our family, our friends, our co-workers,” said Kim Solonick, who helped create the show and was one of its first guests.

Historically, the mentally ill have been viewed in largely negative terms, such as being violent or non-productive, said Solonick, who has a family member with a mental illness.

“In reality, people who have a mental illness are very much like you or I. They just have a diagnosis that needs to be treated.”

It’s not a dirty secret that has to be hidden.

“A lot of people think that a diagnosis is, you know, I don’t want to use the term ‘death sentence,’ but that it is a terminal diagnosis,” Solonick said, “and they just see a life that’s going to be wasted, and that’s not the case at all.”

Chatterton has had her own traumatic childhood but managed to come through to help others who are struggling.

Society is slowly realizing that it’s not enough to tell people to just “leave their emotions at the door,” she said.

“I think we’re starting to really break through a lot of these misnomers that somehow we can turn things on and off and this realization that there’s this whole world going on inside of us.”

What’s crucial is finding the courage to seek support from professionals, family and friends, she said.

Solonick, who was involved with Clara’s Big Ride and is also with the Mental Health Association of the Yukon, said public events can sometimes attract the same group of people who are already comfortable talking about mental health.

The private nature of watching a television screen could reach different people, she said.

“This opportunity for the television show has reached into communities and homes of people who wouldn’t have necessarily gone to an event. It may be the trigger that says to them, let’s go check something out.”

The first episode was done in one take. They started out with the semblance of a script, but that didn’t last long. Instead, the interviews felt more like conversations.

“The reactions that you saw were the reactions when someone asks you a question and it was an emotional question,” Solonick said.

It’s that connection to the guests sharing their stories that is important, she said.

“People want to hear that. They want to hear the human side of mental illness. They want to put a face to somebody. Sometimes that can be a real challenge to step out there and say, ‘Here I am,’ but it generates conversation and engagement.”

Talks are already underway for the next episode. McNutt is hoping to put another episode out before the end of the year.

The planning process is a fluid one. There may be a different host next time and the episode will touch on different issues, but the women are giving away few details.

“What we’re really trying to figure out though is how we’re going to be making this a conversation that opens up space rather than creating silos,” Chatterton said.

The show has a Facebook page if people want to learn more or provide ideas. The TV schedule is available online.

Chatterton said she hopes the show reaches people who think their problems aren’t bad enough to warrant attention.

“Many people, probably most people, present themselves has being in a place of ‘I have it all together.” The reality is that most of us, at least an hour every day, are wondering am I good enough? Am I loveable?”

Realizing that we all need help at some point helps to breakdown the misconceptions that push some people into a corner, she said.

“There is no normal, and because of that we’re all normal.”

“Normal is a cycle on the dishwasher,” Solonick added. “I have that sign in my kitchen.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

adsf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read