Grand Falls Radio Host Says Bell Media Station Fired Her for Mental Health Issues

Former employee Maria McLean calls ‘Bell Let’s Talk’ a tough pill to swallow so soon after her firing

By Tori Weldon, CBC News Posted: Jan 25, 2017 6:00 AM AT Last Updated: Jan 25, 2017 7:26 AM AT

This article has been re-shared from it’s original source, CBC News


Maria McLean was an afternoon radio host at K93 FM in Grand Falls until she was fired on Jan. 12, just one hour after sharing her struggles with mental illness with her colleagues and giving her supervisor a doctor’s note stating that she needed two weeks off work to adjust to her new medication.

“It’s like a nightmare I can’t escape, I think about it all day, I think about it when I sleep,” said the 24-year-old.

McLean said the irony of the situation is that the radio station she was fired from is owned by Bell Media, part of Bell Canada Enterprises, the company behind a national fundraiser for mental health initiatives called “Bell Let’s Talk.”

But McLean feels that talking and sharing her struggles is what caused her to lose her job.

“I took that note from my doctor to my supervisor because I was admitting I needed help.

“I said, ‘In two weeks I am going to be better. I just need this time.’ And I was punished for that.”

Caught off-guard

The former afternoon radio host and ad writer said she was caught off-guard because she thought things were going well at work. McLean said her supervisor, Kirk Davidson, suggested she take over hosting the morning show the summer of 2017.

“That was the day before I was fired.”

McLean said she was never reprimanded or notified that she was not living up to her professional obligations.

Davidson declined to comment on the matter.

McLean moved to Grand Falls from New Glasgow, N.S. last March to work at the radio station. She said her struggles with depression and anxiety aren’t new.

Struggles not new

“Before I started taking medication, which was two years ago, I always thought this was just a weakness that I had to power through.”

She said she was feeling fine until early this year.

“I was feeling really down and it didn’t make sense to me.

“It felt like a flare-up and it was really affecting me.”

At the suggestion of her boyfriend McLean decided she should go to the doctor to see what could be done.

“I opened up about everything, I told him, ‘I’m not myself.'”