Health and Social Services Minister Lionel Carmant said he was “devastated” by “all the tragedies” revealed in La Presse’s investigation into the failures of the mental health access windows published last Saturday.
“It’s unacceptable that children have to wait so long on waiting lists,” said Dr. Carmant in an interview with La Presse yesterday.
Minister Carmant promises to add professionals to these access points, which are the responsibility of the Integrated Health and Social Services Centers (CISSS) and the Integrated University Health and Social Services Centers (CIUSSS).
The press revealed that for lack of proper help, Laurie, 14, lived eight years with the wrong diagnosis; Delphine, 9, landed in the emergency room with restrained ambulance; Felix, 10, has been waiting for a year to consult a child psychiatrist when he has suicidal thoughts.
“With the reorganization of CIUSSS and CISSS by the previous government, many professionals left the CLSCs to go to work in the FMGs [family medicine groups]”, explains the one who was a neurologist at CHU Sainte-Justine before launching in politics.
“We want to add professionals to CLSCs because we need to bring care closer to patients’ living environments. ”
– Lionel Carmant, Minister Delegate for Health and Social Services
The Ministry of Health does not know what is the average waiting time in Quebec for a young person who needs a consultation in child psychiatry and a psychologist’s follow-up in the public network, the La Press.
“There is no health data culture in Quebec. This is obvious, “says Dr. Carmant, who hopes to remedy this, including asking the CLSCs, who will be at the heart of his strategy to screen developmental disorders and learning toddlers from 0 to 5 years, to broadcast their waiting lists.
D r Carmant also wants to increase the number of child psychiatrists in Quebec – are now 200 – a year by shortening the years of specialization required. It would make them spend six to five years for those who do not intend to work in university hospitals, thus making this specialization more attractive.
As soon as we released our survey last Saturday, Health Minister Danielle McCann reacted on Twitter with a promise to “do more in mental health”. “That’s why” she and her colleague, Dr. Carmant, are organizing a Youth and Mental Health Forum on May 13, she said.
“Ineffective window”, criticizes the opposition
Official opposition critic for social services, Hélène David, was also “shocked” by the fate of these children who have been waiting for months on the lists of access desks.
“This counter is so inefficient. It’s sad. ”
– Helene David, Official Opposition Critic for Social Services
Before Christmas, Ms. David proposed to lead a broad reflection on mental health in Quebec, which could take the form of a traveling parliamentary commission, like the one on the right to die with dignity. “Mental health must become a national priority,” said the experienced psychologist who became a member of Parliament.
In the eyes of M me David, a “profound reform” of the access counters is required. This is also recommended by the Quebec Association of Psychiatrists in a report obtained by La Presse that concludes that “the unequal application across the province of standards on the structure and functions of the access windows impedes access to services.
New cry of distress
A new cry of distress made headlines yesterday, as a young woman from Trois-Rivières left a message in her computer, before ending her life, lamenting the lack of mental health resources.
Émilie Houle’s family broadcast Sunday afternoon on social networks the message of the 23-year-old woman who died on March 29, asking to share it so that “things change”.
“I went to the emergency room to get hospitalized, because I could not live like that anymore, I wanted to be treated, I wanted to be taken care of. For the psychiatrist, I did not need hospitalization … but deep down, how can you know that? He does not know how I feel inside me, in mental illness the best person who knows himself is ourselves, “wrote the young woman.
“This time, I really wanted to help, I looked for resources, I called several places, I went to the hospital … Well, frankly, none of that helped, she continues. I was just more discouraged because I felt like you could not help me. I think that’s why there is a huge suicide rate here. It lacks resources and professionals do not have the training to help us. ”
After reading the message, Minister McCann’s office offered her condolences to the young woman’s family. The minister reminded that the forum that will be organized next month will find possible solutions that can be put in place quickly to improve things. This forum will “set the stage for preparing the 2020-2025 action plan for mental health,” said his press officer, Alexandre Lahaie.
In the office of the Minister of Health, it is also argued that four new open air centers for 12 to 25 years will open in the fall in Saguenay, Montérégie, Estrie and Gaspésie. They are in addition to the first three (Côte-Nord, Montréal-Nord and Laval) implemented by the previous government. In one accessible location for youth, these resources provide mental health, sexual health, and other educational and labor market related services.