In re­sponse to the ed­i­to­rial “Ol­livier Dyens has failed you”

The McGill Daily - - Letters -

It is un­for­tu­nate that not only have things be­come so bad at Mcgill, but they are on the road to be­cominge much worse. Ba­si­cally, Mcgill has just about elim­i­nated ac­tual treat­ment ser­vices, espe­cially ex­pert psy­chother­apy ser­vices. The Daily ar­ti­cle is ab­so­lutely right in ex­press­ing that Mcgill is fo­cus­ing only on wait­ing times, while mak­ing ac­cess to good ser­vice nearly im­pos­si­ble to ac­cess. A col­league and for­mer Men­tal Health em­ployee has re­cently told me that Mcgill Men­tal Health psy­chi­a­trists have urged her to write a let­ter of protest as they are dis­mayed by re­cent changes, but are too fright­ened to act them­selves. Many of the top Mcgill psy­chother­a­pists have al­ready left or are plan­ning to leave Mcgill. Psy­chi­a­trists will soon fol­low. In just a few years, the of­fice of the Deputy Provost of Stu­dent Life and Learn­ing has de­stroyed men­tal health ser­vices, and it’s go­ing to get much worse. If psy­chother­apy is not ac­tively sup­ported, then it will dis­ap­pear. There are Mcgill aca­demic staff who have ques­tioned why Mcgill Coun­selling is hir­ing staff with lit­tle or no psy­chother­apy ex­pe­ri­ence, while dis­cour­ag­ing ex­pe­ri­enced psy­chother­a­pists from prac­tic­ing their craft.

The Of­fice of the Deputy Provost has made a mock­ery of Mcgill’s mis­sion state­ment. Mcgill claims ded­i­ca­tion to the ad­vance­ment of learn­ing and in pro­vid­ing ser­vice to so­ci­ety. In academia, in order to pro­mote ex­cel­lence, one turns to ex­perts in a field who have a deep and in­formed un­der­stand­ing of re­search, and in med­i­cal fields, of clin­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence as well. The mod­els that have been forced onto the Mcgill ser­vices, were done with­out no con­sul­ta­tion with any of the ex­pe­ri­enced clin­i­cal staff within Mcgill and with no at­tempt to con­sult any true ex­pert in stu­dent men­tal health, apart from invit­ing one in­di­vid­ual who has been try­ing to sell his un­tested model. To aban­don aca­demic and clin­i­cal knowl­edge to serve one’s own po­lit­i­cal ends is a slap in the face to the whole Mcgill com­mu­nity. In ad­di­tion, the Of­fice of the Deputy Provost has cre­ated an at­mos­phere of in­tim­i­da­tion, with staff be­ing di­rectly in­formed that any protest will not be tol­er­ated. How is this pos­si­bly in the in­ter­est in the ad­vance­ment of learn­ing and ex­cel­lence?

The tried and true best treat­ment for stu­dents with emo­tional prob­lems is ex­pert psy­chother­apy, and not dumbed down re­search mod­els or su­per­fi­cial in­ter­ven­tions. Pro­vid­ing ex­pert psy­chother­apy re­quires strong lead­er­ship, on­go­ing teach­ing and a pos­i­tive at­mos­phere. None of this is now present at Mcgill.

Sin­cerely,

Dr. Nor­man Hoff­man For­mer Direc­tor Mcgill Men­tal Health Ser­vice , (1992-2007)

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