Senior Counsel, Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
In 2002 Beth was diagnosed with bipolar disorder following a psychotic episode that led her to be hospitalized for two weeks at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. Because of the prevalence of the stigma surrounding mental illness, she hid her illness for 14 years, telling only her family and closest friends about her condition. Beth endured much angst at the thought that her colleagues, clients and opposing counsel would find out about her illness and hospitalization
In 2017 Beth made the decision to come out of the “mental health closet” and started speaking publicly. In August of that year the Globe and Mail published an article written by Beth about her decision to disclose.
Since January 2018 Beth has been a Friend of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign. Her story of working as a lawyer with bipolar disorder has been featured on television, radio, podcasts, print media and even billboards across the country. Television appearances include The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News, CTV North News, CP24 and a CTV prime time special, “In Their Own Words”.
Beth is a founding member of the Voices for Mental Health which is a group of employees at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General who have lived mental health experience or have cared for someone who is living with a mental health issue. The Voices provide programming within the Ministry of the Attorney General and beyond on topics relating to mental health. In 2019 the Voices were awarded the Deputy’s Award of Excellence, the highest honour awarded in the ministry.
In May 2021 Beth co-chaired with the Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, Teresa Donnelly, a two-day Mental Health for Legal Professionals Summit. There were over 4,300 registrants. It was a tremendous success. Members of the Voices for Mental Health put together the programming for the Summit.
As a peer mentor for Homewood Health (the Law Society of Ontario’s Member Assistance Program provider) Beth has assisted other lawyers foster their mental well-being.
Beth is a founding member and captain of The Bipolar Express, a team that raises money for a youth mental health program operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association. The Bipolar Express has been the top fundraising team in the country in the CMHA’s annual fundraising event Ride Don’t Hide (also called Mental Health in Motion) for the years 2017 to 2021 inclusive. The team has raised over $160,000 for youth mental health.
In addition to writing an article for the Globe and Mail, Beth has written for Lexpert Magazine on the topic of mental health.