A Maternal Mental Health Advocate in the Making
Julie Sabine is the CMO of Inkblot, Canada’s top online mental health platform with hundreds of counsellors serving thousands of Canadians. She has been an integral part of the team since inception, providing marketing expertise in the context of mental health. Julie is passionate about revolutionizing mental health care and uses her psychology and psychotherapy background to address the unique and evolving needs of Canadians.
She has the knowledge and experience to be sensitive to, yet innovative around, the stigmas and issues that surround mental health and has focused her career on helping others through counselling and communications. Julie has a Bachelor degree specializing in Psychology from McGill University and a Master degree specializing in Counselling from the Australian College of Applied Psychology.
A Swift Reality Check and a Personal Realization
It only took one depressive episode for me to become a mental health advocate. I was 18 years old, so I didn’t really know that that’s what I was, however, after experiencing debilitating sadness caused by a negative life event, I knew that I had to work at helping myself feel better and I wanted to work with others going through hard times so they could feel better too. I became a psychology major and did my graduate studies in applied psychology to get the training I needed to provide psychotherapy. After the birth of my second child, I suffered from postpartum depression (PPD) and this experience directed me toward maternal mental health, my niche, the mental health space where I can truly make a difference.
My first pregnancy and birth were amazing in every way and that’s why I was very surprised the second time around. I felt the burden of pregnancy immediately and then when the little one arrived, everything felt so hard and I couldn’t handle much of anything. I felt trapped, angry and my constant irritability was not only affecting me but my young family as well.
Despite my psychology background and having experienced depression in the past, I didn’t realize that I was depressed - it was just happening, it was just hard, it was just what it was. That is, until the night that my loud screams scared my husband into thinking something dreadful had happened to me and the baby. He was relieved when I said “I can’t do this” and broke down crying.
Our Current Medical System Defaults to Prescription Medicine
When I went to see my GP, she immediately prescribed an antidepressant and, being a psychotherapy advocate, I refused to take the medication on its own. I mean, I wanted the symptoms to go away, but I also needed to get down to the root of what was happening. Unfortunately, at no fault of her own, just a failing mental health system, my doctor did not know who to send me to. She dug around in her desk and found a counsellor’s business card.
I knew in the first five minutes of meeting that counsellor that I would not be going back. I did not feel comfortable or connected at all - our personalities just did not click. $165 later, I finally decided to call a PPD helpline. The voice on the other end of the phone gave me hope. She gave me all of the information that I needed, and I went to my doctor to get referred to a psychiatrist. It took six months to get the help I needed through the public healthcare system. My hope dissipated during this extremely discouraging wait time and, even when I was finally getting help, it was so hard to get to my appointments and find a sitter for my children.
Finding Support is the Key
I’m sharing this story with you because I’m not alone, and I want you to know that you’re not alone. 1 in 5 mothers have been through a similar situation with varying degrees of severity - all of which are painful. Despite working in the mental health field and struggling enough already, I still had to fight to get the support I needed. This is why I have a special interest in working with mothers to get them talking about their struggles so that we can all support one another. And when mothers’ struggles are affecting their daily lives in negative ways, I help guide them toward mental health support.
Introducing a New Way to Find Help
I am now so fortunate to work with a mental health tech company that is available to mothers and everyone else who needs mental health support - and, let’s face it, we all need it at some point in our lives. Had Inkblot been around when I had my second child, I would have been able to easily access the treatment I needed and I would have been able to enjoy his first two years in the world. Had I been able to access Inkblot back when I was 18, who knows if I would have even had PPD.