We are sharing here a letter sent to the Globe and Mail by Louise Lemieux White, co-founder of Families for Addiction Recovery. The letter wasn't published in the news, but we think the message is important and want to share it here.
In response to Andre Picard’s article “System overhaul needed to fix chronically long wait times for health care” February 17, 2017
It was frustrating to read again about our country’s wait time crisis. Sadly ill people die waiting for medical care. Mentally ill people are no exception. Many of these ill people are children and youth and, in particular, are often, as I know from personal experience, children and youth with a co-occuring mental illness and addiction. If parents don’t have the financial means to get out-of-country treatment for their ill child, they sit and watch their child become critically ill or die as they wait for treatment. According to Children’s Mental Health Ontario, there are now 120,000 children and youth in Ontario who are being treated for mental illness and12,000 children with severe mental illness waiting for long-term psychotherapy. As of November 2016, children in urgent need of mental healthcare wait 1.5 years on average for treatment - this is much too long. Suicide in Canada now accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15 to 24 year olds, of which 90% have a diagnosable psychiatric illness. Premier Wynne’s mandate letter to Minister Hoskins (Ministry of Health and Long Term Care) in September 2014 referred to mental health and highlighted the need for “The right care, right place, right time”. As Mr. Picard’s article evidences, the facts are clear that we still do not have the right care, in the right place and at the right time.
Louise Lemieux White