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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pleas for help go unanswered

The Brandon Sun - 9/4/2019

My son recently lost his battle with drugs, four years after suffering a significant trauma that resulted in PTSD. Our pleas for help went unanswered. Manitoba’s mental health system let our son down.

First, he was rejected by Selkirk Mental Health, citing that there were only 10 beds available. Interim treatments at HSC proved inadequate to deal with his serious psychological needs.

Next, the WRHA called the morning of his death to inform us he had been granted an interview for another program. We had been told last November it would take two weeks. Instead, it took four months. My son was not deemed a priority.

Also concerning is Justice Minister Cliff Cullen’s proclamation: “I raised three boys to adulthood and I am proud to say I told them never to use illicit drugs and they haven’t. The message is quite simple, don’t use drugs.”

Regardless of the context, his remarks demonstrate a limited understanding of the complexities of drug issues.

Had Mr. Cullen attended my son’s memorial, he would have heard five recommendations on my son’s behalf. They include: more beds and long-term care for mental illness and co-occurring addictions, minimal waiting times, a team of addiction counsellors, physicians and mental health specialists as well as greater transparency for families.

Politicians need to act on these recommendations. No family in Manitoba deserves the frustration, stigma and grief we have endured over the past four years.

BRENT WILLOWS

Winnipeg

 
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