A 19-year-old northern New Brunswick woman who has attempted suicide three times over the past three months is speaking out about her mental illness and the care she has received from the province’s health care system.

Amanda Browne is a talented, beautiful, and by all accounts, normal young woman. But she went through a trauma when she was a child - an event that triggered emotions of guilt.

“I don’t feel I deserve to have what the average person needs, like air, water, food, happiness. And I deprive myself from those things, makes me feel less guilty, like I’m doing my job,” she said in an interview with CTV News.

The Miramichi resident lives with anxiety and depression, an eating disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. These illnesses have led her to self-harm, which she assures is not about seeking attention.

“It wasn’t that for me. It was that I needed some sort of punishment, and just like any other type of self-inflicting pain, like exhausting myself with running or starving myself, which I ended up doing, I needed something immediate, and something I could see visibly,” she said.

Browne describes her mental illness as if there’s a blockage in her brain. She says choices aren’t as clear for her as “a regular person who can cope with life in a positive way.”

Over the past three months, Browne has attempted suicide three times. Each time, she landed in the hospital. Most times she ended up in the Miramichi Regional Hospital, but one time she was sent to the Chaleur Regional Hospital.

Each time, she says she felt her illness was treated as anything but normal.

“We’ve exhausted our resources in New Brunswick. It’s a hard place to live when you need help,” she said.

“At the end of the day the hospitals are there to keep you safe for 72 hours and then let you go. There is or isn’t a follow-up. If there is a follow-up it’s just about your medication. There’s no real professional therapy.”

“Someone has to help. Someone has to help her.”

Her mother, Ginette DesRoches, says she has spent countless hours trying to get her daughter the help she needs. Browne has tried therapy and counselling, medication and has spent days and weeks in the hospital.

DesRoches believes she needs to go to a residential program focused solely on mental health needs. And while she’s looked into different programs across Canada and the United States, they all cost thousands of dollars.

For months, DesRoches says she has been working on trying to get an out-of-province referral.

She has written to New Brunswick Health Minister Victor Boudreau, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office about her daughter’s situation.

She received letters from Philpott and Trudeau’s office – who both wrote that mental illness is a provincial responsibility - but she’s still waiting to hear from Boudreau.

She calls New Brunswick’s system a “failure.”

“Can I swear? All failures. What else is there to say? Very disappointing, very discouraging,” she said.

In the meantime, DesRoches is terrified something is going to happen to her daughter before she gets the help she needs.

“There’s not a day that I don’t have an image. And it’s not a good image of what I could be walking into,” DesRoches said.

“This would be more than doubling our current budget.”

Fredericton-South MLA David Coon did reach out to DesRoches about her situation. He says he feels there is a crisis in mental health care in New Brunswick.

“We spend less than four per cent of our health budget on mental health care.  The national average is seven per cent. The Mental Health Commission of Canada says provinces should shoot for nine per cent,” he said.

“This would be more than doubling our current budget.”

The New Brunswick Health Council lists two mental illnesses among the top 13 chronic illnesses in the province. Depression is rated fifth, affecting 14.9 per cent of the population.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau declined an on-camera interview for this story, but he did issue the following statement:

“As a government, we recognize the diverse and complex needs of New Brunswickers living with mental illness …. However, when it comes to developing treatment plans to best respond to the needs of patients, mental health clinicians working in our regional health authorities are best equipped for making these decisions based on their training, knowledge and experience.”

A facility for youth living with mental illness is under construction in Campbellton, but it won’t open until August 2018.

“Until they realize that it’s broken, it’s going to be broken forever.”

For another northern New Brunswick family, Amanda Browne’s experience is one they feel very connected to.

Mitchell and Shannon Linkletter lost their son to suicide on Dec. 4, 2013. Kenton Linkletter was 19 when he died.

He was a hockey star in the community, but his father said it was in Grade 11 when he and his wife noticed a change in their son.

They saw it both on and off the ice.

“If he got four goals but they still lost, he’d blame himself,” Linkletter said in a phone interview with CTV News.

“We had some awareness that he was in crisis…we just didn’t get the right help for him.”

Linkletter says, at one point, they reached out to a professional looking for help and guidance.

“They said, ‘You can ask him this question. Ask him: Do you have a plan to take your own life?’ I sat down and I asked him. He said, ‘No, no I don’t have a plan.’”

“Now since then, we realized from the other side there’s not a lot of help.”

The Linkletters have started a GoFundMe page for Browne, called “Kenton’s Project: Loving Amanda.” Mitchell Linkletter says the community can’t depend on politicians or the health care system anymore.

“It’s such a rotten, stinking disease that people suffer in silence. It’s sad. I feel like crying. They just want to hide it,” he said.

“Until they realize that it’s broken, it’s going to be broken forever.”


Mental Health Spending in New Brunswick*



Percentage of Health Budget

2012-2013 $86,121,284 3.36%
2013-2014 $87,386,340 3.44%
2014-2015 $88,851,237 3.49%






*New Brunswick Department of Health