Call for help ‘si­lenced’

Pro­vin­cial prom­ises fail to de­liver the men­tal health and ad­dic­tions ser­vices Nipiss­ing needs, says DNSSAB

North Bay Nugget - - NORTH BAY NUGGET - Nugget Staff

The Dis­trict of Nipiss­ing So­cial Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion Board is re­quest­ing the Min­istry of Health launch an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry to ex­am­ine the ap­par­ent in­equity for men­tal health and ad­dic­tions ser­vices in Nipiss­ing Dis­trict.

Re­cent data shows wait times in the dis­trict for these ser­vices are three times longer than pro­vin­cial and north­east­ern re­gional av­er­ages in some ser­vice categories, ac­cord­ing to DNSSAB.

“The data ob­tained from the North­east Local Health In­te­gra­tion Net­work demon­strates sig­nif­i­cant in­equity for cit­i­zens need­ing men­tal health and ad­dic­tions ser­vices in this re­gion. The in­equity in the Nipiss­ing and North Bay re­gion is un­ac­cept­able. Our board asked for a re­view only to be si­lenced at a local com­mit­tee,” states DNSSAB chair­man Mark King.

LHIN data from July shows that in the Nipiss­ing Dis­trict wait times for case man­age­ment and sup­port­ive coun­selling and ser­vices – ad­dic­tions sup­port­ive hous­ing is at 365 days, DNSSAB stated in a re­lease Fri­day.

“This com­pares with 60 days over­all for the whole prov­ince and only 16 days within north­east­ern On­tario. Any­one seek­ing ad­dic­tions treat­ment will wait an av­er­age 30 days in Nipiss­ing com­pared with an av­er­age of 14 days in On­tario,” the agency states.

“Res­i­den­tial sup­port­ive treat­ment for ad­dic­tions in Nipiss­ing Dis­trict amounts to an av­er­age wait of 270 days com­pared with 30 days on av­er­age in the prov­ince. These local wait times are con­sid­er­ably higher than the pro­vin­cial av­er­age and the high­est in the north­east re­gion.”

Ac­cord­ing to the DNSSAB, a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of this in­crease is re­lated to men­tal health and ad­dic­tions de­mand.

“There is a clear need for an ef­fec­tive and timely re­sponse to peo­ple in need of sup­ports, where they live and when they need it,” says North Bay Coun. Ge­orge Ma­roosis. “We have been aware of this need for quite some time and have been ad­vo­cat­ing for in­creased as­sis­tance for peo­ple in Nipiss­ing Dis­trict.”

Some of this data can be at­trib­uted to an his­toric prob­lem as North Bay was des­ig­nated for many years as the North East­ern On­tario Psy­chi­atric Cen­tre, Ma­roosis ex­plains.

“The psy­chi­atric hospi­tal un­der­went

Un­for­tu­nately, the prom­ises made by suc­ces­sive pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments to pro­vide ad­e­quate ser­vices and hous­ing have not hap­pened.” North Bay Coun. ge­orge Ma­roosis

a se­ries of down­siz­ings and fi­nally closed. And when the new hospi­tal opened, there were even fewer beds to deal with men­tal ill­nesses. Many pa­tients re­mained in our com­mu­nity for rea­sons rang­ing from be­ing close to fa­mil­iar out­pa­tient ser­vices to not be­ing wel­come at home,” he says.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the prom­ises made by suc­ces­sive pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments to pro­vide ad­e­quate ser­vices and hous­ing have not hap­pened.”

prior to the pro­vin­cial elec­tion, dNSSab asked the min­istry and LhIN to fund a third-party in­de­pen­dent re­view of the men­tal health and ad­dic­tions needs for Nipiss­ing dis­trict, King says. It also re­quested it be em­pow­ered to cre­ate a cri­sis task force to deal with emer­gency is­sues in the com­mu­nity.

“there was no up­take to this call to ac­tion from the health-care sec­tor.”

King says the in­de­pen­dent in­quiry now be­ing re­quested would tar­get sig­nif­i­cant gaps in the sys­tem and would ex­am­ine how to best to serve the vul­ner­a­ble in the dis­trict.

“Clients have ar­rived at our doorstep with health con­di­tions so sig­nif­i­cant that some have gone un­re­spon­sive in the of­fice and have re­quired crit­i­cal emS trans­porta­tion,” he says.

“the sys­tem is too frag­mented. too many vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our dis­trict are suf­fer­ing need­lessly be­cause they don’t have a doc­tor who can ad­dress their needs or re­fer them to the ap­pro­pri­ate ser­vice that can help them.”

What com­pounds the prob­lem, King says, is that the lack of timely ac­cess can lead to de­gen­er­at­ing health con­di­tions and in­creased costs through emer­gency depart­ment vis­its. It also in­creases the ur­gency of am­bu­lance calls.

“In the case of men­tal health and ad­dic­tions, in­creased po­lice calls and, ul­ti­mately com­mu­nity vic­tim­iza­tion, have oc­curred when sub­stance abuse and men­tal health is­sues go unchecked.

“this is a grave com­mu­nity cri­sis we are see­ing,” he says.

“We have seen no real ef­fort on the Ne LhIN to help or re­struc­ture the sec­tor to shorten wait times. a cri­sis re­quires more than a bandaid, it re­quires an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry.”

Ge­orge Ma­roosis

Mark King

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.