London, Ont. Mom stresses lack of psychological well being help for teenage daughter – London


Demand for mental health services will increase by more than 50 percent in 2022, the Ontario Psychological Association said Monday, adding that Ontario residents are increasingly turning to privately provided care for help.

But for Jeannie Gheller, a parent from London, Ontario, “it was impossible” for her now 18-year-old daughter to get the right mental health support she needs.

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According to the mother, the family had been seeking intensive inpatient psychiatric treatment for more than a year for their daughter, whose erratic behavior and attempted suicide began when she was just 12 years old.

After escalating since 2021 and being recently diagnosed with severe OCD, Gheller said that despite excessive searching, finding the right treatment for her daughter hasn’t been easy.

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“We keep getting rejected because of her age,” she says.

“We were unable to secure any treatment for her because we were told that she was either needed too urgently for any of the facilities we could come to or that she was aging out of any intensive service for her provided,” said Gheller.

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Due to her daughter’s increasing self-harm behavior, she has been in and out of the hospital, either by checking herself out of treatment programs or being discharged for violence.

In August 2022, Gheller said a referral was made to residential youth services in Hamilton and Niagara, but as with other attempts to access available support, the family is continuing to wait.

“She’s at the London Health Science Center kind of just waiting there because her behavior is too dangerous to release,” Gheller said.

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“They really did everything they could and exhausted all their resources trying to get their help. So much so that they know they can’t release her because she’s going to die either from her thoughts or from her sadness,” she said. “They’re holding her until hopefully we have a plan or we can get her into some sort of treatment facility now that she’s 18.”

But the challenge, according to Gheller, is that her daughter is officially inedible for youth programs and is now on an adult waiting list.

Her family have been told to expect another wait of at least 12 to 18 months.

“We are extremely nervous and scared that her thoughts are really going to kill her. … I don’t have that much time, she doesn’t have that much time, [so] We urgently need help for them now,” Gheller said.

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An intensive review by the Community Services Coordination Network found that “there is indeed a gap in services as there are no community-funded options in our area that could provide services to (the child) at this time.”

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After hearing the story of Gheller and others from local families desperate for ongoing, effective support for their children, Peggy Sattler, London-West MPP, is calling on the Ontario government to better outsource child mental health care to the public funds to support.

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On Friday, Sattler wrote a letter to Michael Tibollo, Assistant Secretary of State for Mental Health and Addiction, outlining the need for change.

“Mister Minister, these families are weary from their endless interactions with GPs, healthcare professionals, paramedics, hospital staff, police, agency workers, custody and court officials and more, which come at extraordinarily high costs to public resources but never result in assistance for their children,” she wrote. “They are exhausted by waiting weeks for meetings to be coordinated, only to be abandoned by a system that tells them their children’s needs are too complex or the behavior is too violent for the services available, with no other treatment options.” Tobe offered.

“Where should these families go when publicly funded child and adolescent mental health programs cannot meet their needs?” Sattler’s letter went further. “How can these families be expected to support their children at home without access to proper community services? I implore you to instruct your ministry to contact these parents and provide assistance before their children are lost forever.”

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In addition, Sattler urged the minister to “meet in person with these parents to hear their concerns” and understand their “nightmarish reality” as they attempt to navigate the system. She also called for his “intervention to ensure our community has the intensive mental health services these young people and their families deserve.”

Sattler told Global News that some families she mentioned in her letters have received calls from Tibollo, but the Gheller family has not heard from the government.

“I will continue to stand up for these families and for all people in London who are going through the same type of struggle trying to access psychological support,” Sattler said.

In a statement to Global News, the Department of Health said the government is working to better support the mental health and well-being of all Ontarians through the Roadmap to Wellness, a “plan to build a modern, world-class mental health and addiction system.”

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In 2019-20, the Department announced that $525 million had been invested in the plan as “new core funding” to support the following key areas:

  • $130 million for child and adolescent mental health
  • over $80 million for community mental health, including structured psychotherapy in Ontario, police-free mobile crisis services, mobile mental health clinics, early intervention for psychosis, and peer support
  • over $93 million for addiction treatment
  • $9.05 million for youth wellness centers for youth ages 12 to 25 with substance use problems
  • $16.6 million for eating disorder services and support

In response to the “pandemic’s impact on drug use,” the government is also launching the Addiction Recovery Fund — a “one-time investment of $90 million over three years to increase addiction support capacity.”

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However, to come back to the study published Monday by the Ontario Psychological Association, applications for mental health support for child and youth services increased 104 percent between 2021 and 2022.

“Explosive demand among younger age groups reflects high levels of unmet needs in communities,” the study said.

“I would really like to be a minister [Michael Tibollo] and Prime Minister Doug Ford, to recognize the urgency of not only my situation but that of other families in London,” Gheller said. She added that she also wants the government to “recognize how broken the system is, especially for those who are 16-17 years old and those who are too old for the youth programs but too young for the adult programs.” “.

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The ministry said that as we “continue work to implement the roadmap, we are committed to working with healthcare providers, Ontario Health (OH)’s Center of Excellence and OH’s regional planners to allocate funds across Ontario and meet regional needs.” ”


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