Even during rough childhood, people asked for advice

A relative newcomer to the Island and to reading my columns raised the question of why my columns are named Hope and Happiness.

A relative newcomer to the Island and to reading my columns raised the question of why my columns are named Hope and Happiness. It was a good question, since he had read only my recent columns on bullying, anxiety, legacy and alcoholism — not happy topics.

Next month will be the 12th anniversary of my writing a column for The NEWS. Probably few of you remember, but the original header was: “The hope and happiness business: New columnist to explore the mind and problems big and small.” That was the beginning of the name Hope and Happiness.

The underlying principle from which I write my columns is this: We are all hardwired to seek happiness and there is always hope.

When I was a teen in the small Ontario town of Elmira, I didn’t have a lot of friends, but when another kid (or sometimes an adult) was troubled about something they often came to me and talked about it.

They usually left feeling better and more hopeful about the future.

I knew even then that I would be doing some sort of helping work as an adult.

No one knew that before I lived in that community, I twice had been abducted and sexually abused. They did know that I had lost my father in a plane crash just before we moved there. They knew that we were bordering on poverty as my mother struggled to raise me and my three younger brothers. Then eight years later, when I was 16, my mother was killed in a car crash in that community.

In spite of the trauma I was a happy child with an adventurous spirit. My mother had introduced me to Norman Vincent Peele and Dale Carnegie at an early age. I could barely read (severe dyslexia) so mother read to me a lot. That’s probably where I gained my love of learning and my optimism.

I studied psychology and then taught it at the university level for 12 years. I was another 10 years in business before I began psychological counseling professionally. Although people never stopped coming to me with their troubles, I couldn’t see myself as fit to help others professionally until I had worked through a lot of my early-life stuff.

As an adult,I have been knocked down many times by, among other things, marriage failures, multiple family deaths, including the deaths of three of my children, and most recently, a stroke. When I write an article about very human problems such as grief, trauma, addiction, marriage failure, loneliness or mental illness, my goal is to get you thinking about ways to get past those issues, to regain hope for the future when it feels like there’s no hope and regain happiness.

hen it feels like the unhappiness will never end. You don’t have to stay stuck.

And that is why my column is appropriately named “Hope and


You can reach Registered Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill at

250-752-8684 or through his website www.neillneill.com


Just Posted

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

Qualicum Beach man arrested after women report disturbing phone calls

Suspect threatened to kill victim’s family if she did not engage in sexually explicit conversation

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Highway 19A closed in both directions near Union Bay

An incident involving a vehicle has shut down Highway 19A in both directions early Saturday morning.

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read