Toronto's George Herman House is run by a memorial fund that honours an unnamed Sister who struggled with mental health. Opening in 1976, the residential transitional home for women, was conceptualized by George's wife Nina (say Nigh na) who worked as a social worker. She saw the need for specialized housing that could protect and nurture, vulnerable women.
Today, forty plus years later, the Home is a forever tribute to how compassionate care is essential to those recovering mental health diagnoses and to those, like George, who felt sorrow after the loss of a loved one.
George's Sister? We don't know her name, all we know is that she was a Mother, a Wife, a Daughter and a Sister and to us, on the Board of George Herman House, she represents a million other nameless faces that become monikers for the forgotten because she died in poverty, squalor and alone.
Mental Illness is no longer mocked, shamed and hidden away even though there are still thousands of Unnamed Sisters that line the closets of family trees. Their self abuses and victimization not only hurt them, but also their tribes, families and circles of friends. And I for one, would like to see their spirits freed.
To help in recovery, be supportive, be compassionate, be a friend.