Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Lightstone spoke to the need for more coordination within mental health care services. On Nov. 7, Lightstone told of an incident shared with him by a constituent that “illustrates the cracks in our system” and left him “quite shocked.”
He said over the summer an Iqaluit father was severely depressed and suicidal. The man’s spouse called for help. The RCMP responded and restrained the man, who was taken to the hospital. Lightstone said the wife told the manager of mental health in Iqaluit of ongoing emotional abuse and the repeated threat to her and her children’s safety.
Then, according to Lightstone, the father was discharged without any notice to the mother.
“The father’s release from the hospital with the lack of a treatment plan, lack of a safety plan or referral to services that could help in the process not only endangered him but also his partner, their children, and their friends, all of which had been put at risk,” said Lightstone. “Unfortunately the story that was shared with me is not an isolated incident and occurs far too often.”
Health Minister George Hickes replied that, generally, the family would be communicated with prior to the discharge of such a patient.
Hickes also pointed out that the government has increased resources dedicated to mental health with 146 government positions in the territory now associated with mental health, 43 of them in Iqaluit. In the capital city, there were more than 1,100 appointments made with mental health workers in the past year, the minister added.
“There’s still not enough money being invested into mental health,” Hickes acknowledged.