Marystown res­i­dent says men­tal health and ad­dic­tions fa­cil­ity needed in the re­gion

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - MARYSTOWN, N.L.

Ruby Hoskins has been tire­lessly ad­vo­cat­ing for a men­tal health and ad­dic­tions treat­ment fa­cil­ity for the Burin Penin­sula for the last 11 years.

The need for a ded­i­cated fa­cil­ity in the re­gion has only con­tin­ued to grow in that time, she says.

How­ever, de­spite her ef­forts, and count­less con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple in power, there is still no such fa­cil­ity for the re­gion.

“I keep ad­vo­cat­ing for it, but it’s just the same thing – fur­ther re­view and con­sul­ta­tion,” the Marystown res­i­dent told The South­ern Gazette.

“It’s al­ways, ‘Well, we’ve done

Ruby Hoskins

this and we’ve done x, y and z, so ba­si­cally you should be happy with that,’ but you can’t be happy when what we re­ally need is not here.”

Hoskins has a vi­sion of what a men­tal health and ad­dic­tions fa­cil­ity on the Burin Penin­sula would look like.

“We’re not ask­ing for a 20- to 25-bed fa­cil­ity; even a five- to maybe eight-per­son fa­cil­ity (would do),” she says.

It would be a dual-di­ag­no­sis cen­tre for both men­tal health and ad­dic­tions, as sep­a­rat­ing the two can be dif­fi­cult, she says, with a full con­tin­uum of care – detox, res­i­den­tial treat­ment, sup­ports for fam­i­lies as well as af­ter-treat­ment pro­gram­ming.

She even has a place in mind — the for­mer T.J. Mc­Don­ald res­i­den­tial youth group home build­ing in Burin.

“Until we’ve got (the full range of care), we’re never go­ing to have the im­pact that we want to have on re­duc­ing the men­tal health and ad­dic­tions is­sues,” says Hoskins, who is the founder of Stand Against Drugs on the Burin Penin­sula. Need not iden­ti­fied: Hag­gie From the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s point-of-view, the Burin Penin­sula “has been a star as far as men­tal health and ad­dic­tions is con­cerned,” Health and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Min­is­ter John Hag­gie told The South­ern Gazette in a tele­phone in­ter­view Oct. 9.

Hag­gie says the prov­ince’s To­wards Re­cov­ery ini­tia­tive has been im­ple­mented suc­cess­fully in the re­gion. Ac­cord­ing to Hag­gie, that ini­tia­tive has com­pletely elim­i­nated the wait time for peo­ple look­ing to speak with some­one about men­tal health and ad­dic­tion is­sues, chiefly through walk-in clin­ics.

“We’re look­ing at a whole kind of in­te­grated sys­tem, start­ing with low-bar­rier, easy­ac­cess based in your own com­mu­nity, and work­ing up the steps … if you need it,” he says.

“We’ve ac­tu­ally sent staff from Labrador and from other health author­i­ties down to the Burin Penin­sula to see how it’s been done so we can clone it across the prov­ince.”

Hag­gie says a mech­a­nism is in place for health providers in the re­gion to re­port is­sues and con­cerns.

The need for a men­tal health and ad­dic­tions fa­cil­ity in the area has not been con­veyed to the de­part­ment, he says.

“At the mo­ment, that hasn’t been some­thing that’s been brought to our at­ten­tion,” he said.

Yet Hoskins says she has spo­ken to Hag­gie on sev­eral oc­ca­sions in the last year, al­ways driv­ing home the need for a fa­cil­ity in the re­gion. She also brought it up to Pla­cen­tia WestBelle­vue MHA Mark Browne a few weeks ago, point­ing out to him an elec­tion is on the hori­zon, she said.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has taken a big step for­ward with the re­cent in­tro­duc­tion of walkin men­tal health and ad­dic­tions clin­ics on the Burin Penin­sula, Hoskins ac­knowl­edges.

How­ever, she said it was more of a re­ac­tionary move, prompted by a spike in the num­ber of sui­cides in the re­gion. She says gov­ern­ment must be proac­tive.

De­spite the fact new treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties have been opened in the prov­ince, there are still sig­nif­i­cant wait times, ac­cord­ing to Hoskins.

That’s a big con­cern, she says. Some­one will­ing to ac­cept treat­ment needs to go into a fa­cil­ity right away, she says, adding any num­ber of is­sues can arise dur­ing the wait.

“The long-term is­sues, we’re not even start­ing to scrape the sur­face with just the walk-in clin­ics,” Hoskins says.



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