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Cuts to Children Mental Health

It has recently come to my attention many cuts that have been made to our system in regards to Children Mental Health Care.

I am a single parent of 3 children with varying disabilities. My oldest son is 12 and suicidal. He has had multiple attempts in the last 3 months. Every attempt we have been directed by his psychiatrist, psychologist and even the Crisis response team to go directly to the Stollery Hospital Emergency room. So off we went however even though hours earlier my son was hanging from a tv cable cord in the basement, he was deemed to be ok and discharged.

As per psychiatrist;
• He does not have bipolar, manic, or any issues that would case this attempt
• After 15 minutes in a room with him (6 hours waiting by this time) He was stable and of no risk to himself or others (He did state to the Dr he doesn’t know if he was going to hurt himself again or if he could keep himself safe)
• There are no beds for inpatient
• They wont keep him overnight for observation
• The hospitals are not equipped to handle impulsive suicide attempts
• It would be easier if he pre-planned or wrote a note prior to attempt
• The responsibility is on me to keep him safe which includes 24/7 supervision including following him to the bathroom for every use. Sleeping on the couch with him. Not allowing him out of my sight ever.
• I was told if I cant do this or if I refuse to take him home after this attempt then Child Protective Services will be called and he will be relinquished from my care and I will be labeled as Abandoning my son.
• Medications or anything else were not reviewed, as she explained she will not look into this is it his regular psychiatrist who should handle this situation. However his regular psychiatrist will not take emergency appointments and if there are issues we should go directly to Stollery Emergency Department. I was just recently informed that I guess there is a after hours psychiatrist at CASA however no one has been able to give me this contact information.

I have been in contact with multiple different parents who have been through very horrific experiences both at the Stollery and the Royal Alex Emergency department. These parents are being sent home with children who are having very serious mental health concerns, or even worse having their children taken away from them if they feel they cant keep their children safe!

Cuts and issues I have been made aware of.
• As per staff at Royal Alex Emergency Department; All child psychiatrist’s have been cut from Emergency Rooms across Edmonton. Stollery is the only Emergency department that will see Children with Mental Health issues.
• The psychiatrist’s that work out of the Emergency Department at the Stollery also handle the Adult Emergency Department as well.. there have been reports of no psychiatrist on shift from 3pm-5pm, and some parents have been refused to see a Psychiatrist or a Mental Health team as one was not available
• After midnight there are no Mental Health nurses until around 7-8am the following day.
• As per 211 – EMS and parents are still being directed to go to Royal Alex for Children Mental Health Care, however they are all being turned away. I asked 211 if they could update this information however they are locked out by Alberta Health Services (AHS) to make any changes and were unaware of these issues.
• Family Supports for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) has by far affected a broader spectrum of parents as FSCD is not limited to just Children Mental Health but all children with disabilities. It has come to my attention one of two things has happened no one has been able to give me specific answers as per what is going on. It is reported approx. 8-13 workers have been either let go or have walked out. Each worker is estimated to have anywhere from 100-400 parents on their caseloads. Parents are not receiving services, numbers have been disconnected. Parents are continuing to call for months with no return phone calls, this includes to all supervisors, as well the manager of the department is not returning calls.
• As per (OCYA) Office of the Child and Youth Advocates in Edmonton, they are only able to advocate for children who are in the care of Child Protective Services, or the Courts. She says they are legislated and unable to help any other children
• As per a previous Child Protective Services (CPS) Worker there used to be a section in the Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act, that would protect our children who were of immediate danger both to themselves or others. As per this worker and reviewing the Act myself it has in the last 15 years been removed from the Act.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

I would like to finish in just asking Why? I think us families that are struggling with Children who have Mental Disabilities deserve some answers!

No hospitals would ever turn away a child with Cancer.. why should a child with a mental disease be treated any different

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73 Responses

  1. Adam Dee Adam Dee says:

    Omg go to the fucking media with this! That’ll either put pressure on them to just help you to shut you up or it’ll raise hell and bring broader awareness to the issue. As soon as I read that they told you that threat about Child Protective Services, my first thought was to contact the media and get them to try and pressure them as to why they are putting you in this position. I guarantee you aren’t the only parent in this position. Good luck to you.

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    • I agree, go to the media. This is an emergency for you and your family.

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    • I have gone to media this wont fit in a 2 min spot they are working with reporters to get answers so far AHS has no comment

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    • Right now no one cares. I have gone to my MLA. I donate nothing to the Stollery as they are the worst most useless hospital. Suicide attempt? If u sit here for 7 hours until you are too exhausted to do anything you go home with a “safety plan” which is useless. I have also been told that youth fall through the cracks because when the government changed mental health and cut back, they “forgot” to do a change to the Youth Mental Health Act meaning no services or funding for this. No one knows the horor and frustration of a child with mental health issues like a parent who has dealt with this nightmare

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  2. In 2017 the Alberta Government Spent $80 million on Mental health Up 64% from previous years

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  3. Wow, I am so sad to read your story. I know from experience with my adult son how horrible our mental health situation is for adults, now I see it is just as bad for children. Mental health is something that seems to get swept under the carpet and far too many people with issues fall through the cracks. Seems there are so many other movements nowadays that are getting attention, seems that we the parents, who in most case are the only advocates for these kids and adults with mental health issues need to start speaking up and loudly and make our voices heard. I don’t know where to begin to do something about it, but I know there are people out there with great ideas and the leadership qualities needed to get this message out there and change things

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  4. Big hugs for you and your child – it seems to me mental health is getting shoved under the rug again. If the politicians don’t talk about it – it doesn’t exist – therefore they don’t have to get off their asses to do something about this problem. And it’s not just one political party avoiding the subject of mental health – it’s all parties.

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  5. My mom has the same issue with my sister. She has borderline and was told she was at risk for accidental suicide. The instructions from her psychiatrist / psychologist are to call the police if she gets out of hand so she can be taken to the hospital for assessment. The police show up and tell my mom she’s a shit parent and theres nothing wrong with my sister other than teenage girl hormones and that they’re reporting her to CPS. It’s an absolute nightmare. On the off chance my mom does get her to the hospital it’s the same situation as you. She’s fine we cant do anything go home.

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  6. We live this exact same story!! I have be in talks with the government there are so many facets that need to be fixed but no one one knows where to start. It makes me sick and not only does this effect my son it effects our whole family!!!!

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  7. Maja Black Maja Black says:

    It was like that in the 80’s and 90’s too. Prior to that the belief was children couldn’t have depression because they had nothing to be sad about. There really has never been adequate care for anyone with mental health issues…I for one went to a private counsellor, it was $150 a session, but absolutely worth it.

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  8. It angers me even more because to put those people through chemo, meds, etc. Costs thousands upon millions but yet people kill themselves EVERYDAY because people think it’s a joke and that they’re lying for attention.

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    • Frank Yurich Frank Yurich says:

      Let’s not put one illness’s against another trust me cancer sucks as well

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    • My granfather died from 3 types of cancer and I almost took my life multiple times. I’m not putting anything against anything just stating facts.

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    • This is part of the problem , don’t compare illness’s …. but please recognize mental health as one. …. my family has lost so many to mental health , just recently another very loved person that we all tried desperately to help .. it’s horrible and heartbreaking and not one illness should be greater then another they are all terrible , and horrible to go through or watch your loved one suffer and they all need our support and attention.

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  9. Maybe he needs a psychologist instead of a psychiatrist.. maybe it’s something in his diet.. maybe he is bullied at school.. or maybe he feels you are too busy with the other kids and work and he isn’t feeling loved. Kids in single parent homes often have issue because of the father being absent.. you need to find out WHY he is depressed and talk to him about it.. I went through depression when I was young and the cause was NEVER talked about… I was medicated and that was that.. I know the causes now.. and it should have been talked about.

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    • “Every attempt we have been directed by his psychiatrist, psychologist and even the crisis response team to go directly to Stollery Hospital emergency room.”- He does see a psychologist. If you read her whole post you would understand that it wasn’t only about her son, but about the whole broken system that parents are struggling with.

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    • He has seen a psychologist Its in her post read the whole post. Your seriously putting the blame on the mother Are you kidding me? My brother has mental disabilities he has lived in a single parent home With me And Neither of us have EVER Felt unloved by her This mom has gone through every hoop there is to get her son The help he needs and deserves And a diet Seriously? Diets have nothing to do with this being bullied at school Also Affects them Yes but She has stated that he has a menta disability. I have lived with my brother for 15 years and I have seen him struggle I have seen him Cry and fight I have watched my brother Sit down and start crying Because he think he has nowhere to go and My mom WAS A SINGLE MOM And this did not stop her from loving him and cherishing him Even though I was younger. This mom Has been through Hell and Back and her son is being turned down and being Discharged in the blink of an eye just because he is a child. I know a women Who tried to commit suicide 1 time and she was put into a mental ward for a month Just to keep her under observation. CHILDREN are being turned down because they only have 9 beds in the stollery. They have made cuts to CHILDRENS MENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS. If you wanna put the blame on that mom And Tell her that She needs to talk to him you dont understand. Do you honestly think she hasn’t tried? If This not her fault The blame should Not be put on her. My brother had a mental breakdown and I watched as my mom called the youth crisi line and got voicemail. 1/2 an hour later she got a reply and they told her That they couldnt come out because their police officer wasnt there. I watched my mom Adele Hammer cry for hours and days and I watched her be convinced that she was a terrible mom because psychologists and Therapists and The stollery turned my brother away because they would not evaluate him. You have no right to say this to a mom who is trying her best for her son Because I have lived the struggle of having a Brother with Disabilities and this mom should win an award for what she is going through and so should my mom.

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    • Read her whole post before commenting.

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    • Maja Black Maja Black says:

      Brandy Hammer I’m glad your mom has you on her side, and that you let her know she is appreciated. Casa may be able to help https://www.casaservices.org/

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    • We have been with CASA for 8 years! Yes there are services available for help however they are hard to access and include long waiting lists

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    • Brandy Hammer thanks lady!! I have pm your mom!!

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    • My son actually suffers from Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a mental disorderin children and adolescents characterized by a persistently irritable or angry mood and frequent temper outbursts that are disproportionate to the situation and significantly more severe than the typical reaction of same-aged peers. Not just depression but that is a huge part of it.. he is well loved by both parents and all family.. this is a mental disease.. one not many people understand or are quick to judge abuse.. best way to fight that educate others!! Thanks for commenting

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    • You obviously know nothing.

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  10. Adele Hammer Adele Hammer says:

    Please PM me. I am currently in the same situation with my son. I am looking for some parents in the same boat as me.

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  11. Adele Hammer Adele Hammer says:

    I have been battling the mental health system for 16 yrs to get my son help. Just recently he had a mental break and when i contacted the crisis line i was told they cannot come out cuz the police officer that normally works with them was away. Found out afterwards that they always have other officers that cover.

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  12. Alyssa Pupp Alyssa Pupp says:

    Have you talked to CFS about having put into Secure Services? They will do a 10 day assessment and possible secure him for 20 more days.

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  13. Nina Caputi Nina Caputi says:

    Such a true indication of limited support and government funds for mental health. I share your pain since mental health illnesses can be found in several generations of the same family. Please continue to advocate for your child and don’t ever give up even though this takes such a hard toll on you as the primary caregiver. You are not alone. God Bless!

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  14. Kat Adams Kat Adams says:

    I’m so sorry you and your family is going through this I have no advice sadly but maybe the intake at the u of a? I don’t know if there is a age limit with them but it might work? I hope you find something to help and I hope your son fails at every attempt it’s horrible to be going through this.

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  15. Adele Hammer Adele Hammer says:

    Anyone and everyone that is struggling with the children’s mental health please PM me. I am a parent of a mental ill child who is trying to start advocating for us to get better care for our children

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  16. Frank Yurich Frank Yurich says:

    There must be something bugging him if he will not talk to you about it maybe he needs some one to listen other then you I’m no professional but if he Evers wants to go quadding,sledding, fishing,or just to hang out with someone tell him to look me up ,I’ll listen,I’ll share,I have time on my hands due to a illness but I’m alive and love being that way and I’ve being around the block a few times maybe I can inspire him in some way to embrace life and want to stay alive and if he is being bullied at school it doesn’t hurt to have some big friends just to hang ,I’m not sure if he has ever experienced quadding,sledding fishing etc but it might be a nice change from tv/video games etc

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    • Frank Yurich thanks for your comment.. my son suffers from a few disorders the most prodiment one is Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a mental disorderin children and adolescents characterized by a persistently irritable or angry mood and frequent temper outbursts that are disproportionate to the situation and significantly more severe than the typical reaction of same-aged peers..my sons father is actively involved in his life.. he has never been abused or even spanked..he has a huge family that loves him and is very supportive.. yes we do lots of activities..we are revamping our whole diet working with nutritionalist.. we have worked with big brother big sisters.. we literally have exhausted all measures and what programs are left the wait lists are years.. i know of 3 programs/clinics that have been cut.

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    • Frank Yurich Frank Yurich says:

      Siobhan Taylor thanks for the heads up and I see your advocating other ways and I’m glad everyone is involved in helping your son but sometimes it might just take a stranger to see something no one else does and I’m sure you invole your son in many activities I was just offering ….ps go fx rams go… my old high school too

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  17. Frank Yurich Frank Yurich says:

    And the only reason why this lady chimed in and said spending is up in mental health is because we have to keep the bowl full for are wonderful health minister !!

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  18. I feel for everyone that has or is going thru issues with their children. I had a small taste of the same when I tried to get help for my 15 year old son. It was simply put ‘he will have to commit a crime or commit suicide before anything happens’ this is our system? Disgraceful. As a parent I was trying to prevent any of these things from happening. I’m so sorry but I agree with the other ppl when they say go to the media. I bet you’d have more support going that route just by having power in numbers of other parents and caregivers. Take care

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  19. We had to deal with that with our sun. Have the support we found out a out through friends. People act as if the programs out there are common knowledge. We are ine of the few who happen to get a good dr that is willing to help. There are those out there byt they are so overwhelmed and under supported that it is hard to get them.

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  20. Same problem for adults with mental illness, if you’re not filthy rich you’re not getting and help

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  21. Jackie Neil Jackie Neil says:

    You should go to the media with this information. Good luck. As a mom, my heart hurts for you. Keep on fighting for your child. Sounds like you are doing the best you can.

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  22. Any parents who would like to advocate or information on who to call please pm me

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  23. Please join group above if you have been affected by these cuts

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  24. If you put this into a letter you should send it to your MLA, and Sarah Hoffman the minister of health let me know and I will also send it to my MLA on your behalf. Wish there was more I could do.

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    • Yes i have done so today! Yes please send to MLA that will be great! Mine didnt even know what was going on… go figure…thanks for your help its greatly appreciated

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    • I agree with the “your child should be good to go home” but was never turned away from staying at the hospital. It didn’t take 6 hours to see a doctor and the children’s emergency at the Stollery was quite full. Although, I do agree about the diagnosis from a psychiatrist being “your child is fine” nonsense. I’ll follow this post.

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    • I waited 7 hours and then the ER Dr sent us home before the psychiatrist came in to evaluate. Big waste of time.

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    • Wow. That’s insane. I’m typeless.

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  25. That’s bullshit!! Go to your MLA……. go to the news…… make everyone aware of this nonsense! A child trying to commit suicide is a huge deal wtf! Nothing wrong with him my ass! These doctors grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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