Holly Moore

Navigating the Healthcare System


Holly is sharing her family’s story to illustrate the profound gaps in mental health, medical, addictions, and criminal justice systems. Getting help is far from straightforward, and you never know when you or someone you care about will need it. Her hard-won experience can help inform concrete actions for navigating systems for family members.


At All Costs: Saving a Family from Addiction

In saving her son, Holly Moore was also saving herself.
“I knew in my heart if he went, I would go too,” said Holly, who is sharing her family’s story of finding help for her 19-year-old son, Beck, as he became entangled in addiction, a mental health crisis, and the criminal justice system.

Holly is an award-winning investigative journalist and in in her current role is the managing editor of CTV News Winnipeg. “I’m used to telling other people’s stories. I feel most comfortable asking the questions,” she said. When it came to finding help, she thought she would be able to use her professional skills and intellect to navigate the system to find the resources Beck needed. That, she said, was a desperate illusion.

“Despite my years of experience steering people in peril toward accountability and help, it all came down to money.” When Beck entered a private recovery treatment centre, she was faced with a bill for $34,000. Waiting for one of few publicly funded beds would have been too late, and that wasn’t something she was willing to accept for her son, and not something any family should have to accept.

“How can we as a society accept who will live and who will die based on who can pay?”
Any illusions she had about the public system are gone, she said. “I paid my way out, but that isn’t something everyone can do.”

While Holly will be the one on stage, it is their family’s story, and Beck is fully supportive of having his mom talk about this painful chapter, even as it is still a raw experience. The crisis came last summer when in the throes of addiction and drug psychosis, Beck was arrested for carjacking at a rental car agency.

As they have talked through the events in planning for her talk, they are filling in the blanks together, as Beck’s memory is fragmentary because of his state of mind at the time. Holly said she is following his example of service and giving back. He’s doing well now, attending Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every night, said Holly, who also attends Families Anonymous, where she has found nonjudgemental support and understanding. “You skip the small talk.” No one recoils in horror at the details of your story, she said. “You can tell it like it is.”

Holly reflected on one watershed moment along the way when she was invited by a friend to take part in a round dance and sacred fire. “I prayed for peace, and pity from Creator,” she said. In that moment around the fire, she felt the long past but familiar weight of what it was like to hold her child in her arms as a baby. “It was then I thought that everything would be okay.”