Jobim Novak

2016 Recipient Jobim NovakJobim's warm smile and infectious laugh made him stand out from his peers in college, but his smile and laugh didn't always come so easily. As a high school student, Jobim experienced symptoms of psychosis. He felt overwhelmed by the voices he heard and the hallucinations he experienced, which were later diagnosed as schizophrenia. Jobim found himself looking for ways to ease the anxiety, pain and confusion these voices brought, and he turned to drugs.

Jobim spent his days trying to relieve the symptoms of his psychosis, completely numb to life. Those days turned into years and he realized drugs were only holding him back from living a healthy, full life. Using drugs intensified his symptoms, perpetuating a vicious cycle of addiction.

Jobim took the courageous step of entering rehabilitation for substance dependence but relapsed, as so often happens on the journey to recovery. The spiral of psychotic symptoms and self-medication continued until he entered a second rehabilitation program a few years later. After falling into a criminal lifestyle, overdosing and two suicide attempts, Jobim renewed his commitment to recovery and a healthier life.

Throughout his recovery, Jobim wrote beautiful music. Those who know Jobim say he chisels masterpieces in minutes. He embraced the creative writing program by the Toronto Writers Collective and the Jewish humanitarian organization Ve'ahavta. Jobim continues to write music on a weekly basis in a writers group at CAMH LEARN, and his music and writing reveal the emotional and spiritual journey he's undergone to rediscover himself.

"Music was everything," says Jobim. "Music helped me when I was down. I had no friends; I was addicted, and music pulled me out."

Jobim is working on a book of poems as well as a rap album while completing his studies at George Brown College. He wants to become a child and youth worker to make a difference in the lives of young people who might be feeling hopeless. Jobim's story offers other young people hope that they can overcome their challenges and find their voice, whatever they are facing. His message of transformation and hope continue to breakdown stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction.



Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation

Charitable Number:

100 Stokes Street, 5th Floor
Bell Gateway Building
Toronto, ON M6J 1H4

Toll-Free: 1.800.414.0471
Telephone: 416.979.6909
Fax: 416.979.6910 or fax the hospital