Sup­port needed for men­tal health

Hu­man rights com­plaint hear­ing con­tin­ues for se­cond day

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY RYAN ROSS rross@the­ twit­­r­ross

Men­tal ill­ness can be dis­abling, but peo­ple do get bet­ter, says a spokesman for the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion.

Reid Burke, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the group’s P.E.I. divi­sion, said for that to hap­pen peo­ple need sup­port in or­der to re­cover. “No ques­tion,” he said. Burke tes­ti­fied yes­ter­day dur­ing the se­cond day of a P.E.I. Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion panel hear­ing in Char­lot­te­town into a dis­crim­i­na­tion com­plaint against the pro­vin­cial govern­ment.

Mil­lie King rep­re­sented her daugh­ter, Laura King, at the hear­ing.

Laura has schizophre­nia and was ini­tially di­ag­nosed with a form of psy­chosis in 2011.

Since that di­ag­no­sis she and her mother have been try­ing to get her sup­port through the prov­ince’s dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram, but it doesn’t cover peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness.

Burke told the panel the dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram doesn’t ad­dress the com­plex­i­ties of men­tal ill­ness.

It would be a prob­lem to in­clude peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness in a sys­tem not de­signed for them, he said.

Mil­lie also con­tin­ued her tes­ti­mony yes­ter­day, and the hear­ing was closed to the pub­lic briefly while per­sonal de­tails of Laura’s ill­ness were dis­cussed.

As part of her tes­ti­mony, Mil­lie dis­cussed a re­sponse sent to the prov­ince ear­lier this month about reme­dies sought to re­solve the com­plaint.

In­cluded in that re­sponse was a re­quest for $10,000 to cover costs for Mil­lie and Laura to move to On­tario.

In On­tario, Laura would ap­ply to that prov­ince’s dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram, which Mil­lie said takes about three to six months to get ac­cepted.

Dur­ing that time, Laura sought $1,000 per month un­til she is ac­cepted.

Mil­lie also sought wages and ben­e­fits un­til she turns 65 or se­cures com­pa­ra­ble em­ploy­ment in On­tario to what she has in P.E.I. as a nurse.

The re­sponse also sought $100,000 for hurt and hu­mil­i­a­tion.

Laura’s ini­tial hu­man rights com­plaint sought $1.4 mil­lion from the prov­ince, but Mil­lie said she wasn’t well at that point and since sent an apol­ogy let­ter to the P.E.I. Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

Dur­ing Mil­lie’s tes­ti­mony, the panel heard so­cial as­sis­tance pays Laura about $300 a month for food, cloth­ing, house­hold per­sonal items and travel while the two live to­gether.

On the stand, Mil­lie, who works in men­tal health for the prov­ince, said a hu­man rights com­plaint wasn’t her first choice and she felt like she was be­ing dis­loyal to her em­ployer.

“Ac­tu­ally, for me it has been just heart­break­ing,” she said.

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