- Jayne Melville Whyte researches, writes and speaks on issues relating to mental health and the history of mental health in Saskatchewan. In 2012 the Canadian Mental Health Association (Saskatchewan) published Privot Points: A fragmented history of Mental Health in Saskatchwan. Jayne used her experience as a consumer of mental health services, and now as a senior, as she searched the archives. The book covers 100 years of history in 150 pages - from building Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford in 1912 to building mental health strategy in 2012.
Jayne takes a positive approach, assuming that service providers, policy makers, politicians and front-line workers did the best with with they knew at the time. At the same time, she points out the gaps where people with mental illness and their families did not get the help they needed. Pivot Points illustrates ways that people living with mental illness have contributed to, benefitted from and been frustrated by the "fragmented system."
Jayne has been active with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) since 1975. Previous work with the Canadian Disability Rights Council and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities in Winnipeg drew attention to the need for complex material in plain language. Pivot Points is easy to read while more than 250 endnotes document the sources.
Jayne is willing to talk more generally about mental health and mental illness, and always willing to answer questions. Her experience in worship leadership since 1992 has developed her speaking skills and ability to relate to the ages and interests of her listeners. Her experience included many CMHA speaking engagements, and talks to the Registered Psychaitric Nurses Association and other professional groups.
Jayne grew up on a farm near Kindersley, SK, the same area where she met her ex-husband and raised their son. After her marriage ended, she moved to Winnipeg where she earned a B.A. with a psychology major. For twenty years, she lived in Fort Qu'Appelle. In 2012 she moved to Regina to be closer to the Archives and CMHA.
Jayne is curious about many things but concentrates her research on disabilities, poverty, women's issues. She plans to write more from the journals of her journey through more than 50 years of using mental health services for her own healing and the observations along the way. "I decided to notice what people do right."