Her Name Was Margaret: Life and Death on the Streets
275 pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-32-9
Margaret Jacobson was a sweet-natured young girl who played the accordion and had dreams of becoming a teacher until she had a psychotic break in her teens, which sent her down a much darker path. Her Name Was Margaret traces Margaret's life from her childhood to her death as a homeless woman on the streets of Hamilton, Ontario. With meticulous research and deep compassion author Denise Davy analyzed over eight hundred pages of medical records and conducted interviews with Margaret's friends and family, as well as those who worked in psychiatric care, to create this compelling portrait of a woman abandoned by society.
Through the revolving door of psychiatric admissions to discharges to rundown boarding homes, Davy shows us the grim impact of deinstutionalization: patients spiralled inexorably toward homelessness and death as psychiatric beds were closed and patients were left to fend for themselves on the streets of cities across North America. Today there are more 235,000 people in Canada who are counted among the homeless annually and 35,000 who are homeless on any given night. Most of them are struggling with mental health issues. Margaret's story is a heartbreaking illustration of what happens in our society to our most vulnerable and should serve as a wake-up call to politicians and leaders in cities across Canada.
About the Author
Denise Davy is a nationally recognized award-winning journalist who specializes in writing about mental health, homelessness and gender issues. She worked at the Hamilton Spectator for 26 years and was twice honoured with the Journalist of the Year award by the Ontario Newspaper Association and is a recipient of a National Newspaper Award, several Ontario Newspaper Association awards and two awards from the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. In 1993, the Canadian Association of Journalists awarded her for co-founding the National Women in the Media conference. She is the recipient of four national journalism fellowships, which allowed her to investigate child prostitution in Thailand, poverty in India and the crisis in children's mental health services in Canada. She is founder of Purses for Margaret, which provides toiletries to homeless women. She lives in Burlington, ON.