The formal recommendations around addressing the challenges of mental health always seem to get it right. So why is it that we never get beyond the nice words from politicians who claim to understand?
This Friday mental health professionals and support staff at Providence Care Mental Health Services – the former Kingston Psychiatric Hospital – will be taking their case public. The staff will be holding an information picket outside their hospital to let Kingston residents know of the volatile situation they face on a daily basis.
Overcrowding, program cuts, and understaffing – mental health services in this province weren’t supposed to be like this.
For all the talk of making things better, decisions still appear to be based on austerity-driven budgets, not on improving care for patients.
A provincial all-party select committee on mental health had unanimously agreed in 2010 that we need to do better so that all Ontarians get the mental health and addictions care they deserve. That includes regional assessments on the availability of a complete basket of mental health services, including acute inpatient treatment.
The all-party committee particularly noted that presenters had told them admission and discharge decisions were becoming motivated not by clinical need, but by the shortage of available beds.