Reach Out for Help
MENTAL ILLNESS CANNOT BE “FIXED” ALONE. JUST ASK
MARGARET TRUDEAU, WHO SUFFERED FOR HER ENTIRE
LIFE BUT FOUND SOLACE WITH OUTSIDE HELP.
It’s not easy being a Trudeau. There is the constant tug-of-war
with the press, the scrutiny of the public at large and the
sometimes insular feelings that come with the job. Often, the
pressure is too great and can lead to dealing with mental health
issues in a very public way. Of course, the Trudeau referenced here
is Margaret – the ex-wife to a past Canadian Prime Minister and
the mother to the current one.
Margaret Trudeau has struggled with bipolar disorder her
entire life and dealt with it sometimes publically and sometimes
privately. But for a long time, she never dealt with it all.
“It’s hard to diagnose whether you are just an angry teen-ager
trying to find your own identity or if you’re someone with
a serious mental illness,” she said at a speech given during the
Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA)’s Annual
Conference and Trade Show in Toronto. “I didn’t have a serious
mental illness, but I was very unhappy a lot and was aware of
what was going on in the world” – which, at that time, was the
At the age of 18, Margaret met Pierre Trudeau at what was then
the new Club Med in Tahiti. Her mother informed her that the
man she had been talking to was “the ‘black sheep’ of the Liberal
Party.” But in the interim, she went back to university and started
feeling more of the symptoms of her bipolar disorder.
“I started having terrible thoughts of uselessness of powerless-ness
– depression is a terrible thing,” she said.
At that time, she turned to marijuana – something that she said
“cooled her down” from the waves of highs and lows that she was
so eager to smooth out.
“I was doing what so many of us who are suffering alone with
a mental illness were doing – trying to fix ourselves, trying to
By Joel Kranc
“THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
FOR PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY
IN HR, IS THAT MOST
ILLNESSES WILL COME OUT
IN THE WORKPLACE.”
– MARGARET TRUDEAU
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ MARCH 2018 ❚ 29