Yesterday, there was a story on CTV News a story of a young man who has been battling substance misuse, ADHD and depression for some time. According to the news story, he had recently decided to try and turn his life around and with the support of his mother had been admitted to the Children’s Hospital for an inpatient treatment stay. According to the story, he did well in hospital and was discharged with recommendations to continue treatments in the community, including substance abuse care. Guess what? You guessed it! Not available!
So here we have yet another potential tragedy unfolding. On the face of it (and I am aware that I do not have all the details or facts of the story), here is a young man who has realized that he needs care, first steps that care have been provided, but now when he needs a period of long-term assistance that assistance is not available. So what is the likely outcome?
Well, maybe the best will be a revolving door scenario. In this, he will be in and out of hospitals and emergency rooms, dealing with crisis situations and not getting the continuous best care he needs. The worst case scenario may be premature death by suicide. Look at the risk factors that were identified in the news story – a young male with a mental disorder (inadequately treated), substance abuse and a history of involvement in the juvenile justice system. I for one, hope that this worst case scenario will never occur..
And what is the solution? Part of the solution is to make sure that the mental health care services that young people need are available to them when they need them. If this young man had fragile diabetes or a heart condition that required continuous care would there be no room in the health care inn? I doubt it. This young man however has a mental disorder – and for people with a mental illness it is ok not to have room in the inn.
Let’s call it what it is. Not stigma but discrimination.