A personal journey into the snake pit: Quebec’s ailing mental health care system first requires reformation as opposed to increased funding?

Every year on the island of Montreal, approximately 142,000 people (7.6% of the population) use the mental health services offered through the health care system . . . However, due to a lack of organization in mental health services specialized psychiatric hospitals like the Douglas find themselves obliged to respond to an ever-increasing demand, which results in corresponding delays in access to services.

from the Douglas Mental Health University Institute website

Between misdiagnosis and the cover your behind policies that saw the Gatineau hospital repeatedly fail to respond to communication requests, and a total lack of follow through relative to forwarding medical records, the mental health care system in Quebec is in complete and total disarray.  In fact the system is so poorly run that it prompted one of my partner’s former CLSC counselors to lament that “Jennifer deserved better.”

Sadly this isn’t the worst of it, as my partner’s primary doctor was, during their counseling sessions, more interested in talking about his Medicus investment group as opposed to actually treating her, eventually persuading her into investing $1,200 and attending an investment group meeting with the cautionary words that she should not let the other doctor’s know that she is his patient.

Of course, when the wheels inevitably fell off with Jennifer spiraling into an uncontrolled nosedive of Bipolar addiction complete with questioning her worth and existence – a situation made more traumatic given that she was 3 months pregnant, his response when I called him to express my concerns was to say “I expected this,” and “tell her I will see her at her next appointment in May” (which was weeks away).

Even after Jennifer, like Maggie Trudeau who also has Bipolar Disorder, voluntarily committed herself to the hospital’s psych ward for what turned out to be a six week stay, the doctor was so clued out that the only call I received from him was to tell me that he had yet another envelope of information on the Medicus investment group that was ready to be picked up at his office.  Then when I had informed him of Jennifer being hospitalized, there was little if any reaction (although when Jennifer went to see him after she was released, besides suggesting to her that she leave me, he expressed annoyance at the fact that I hadn’t picked up the envelope).  By the way, the above is just one of the many examples of how the health care professionals involved in treating Jennifer play patients off against their families in an effort to gain absolute and unchallenged control.

The Quebec Mental Health Care system is based on intimidation and control

While we are in the process of filing an official complaint against the health care professionals involved, as well as filing a lawsuit for malpractice, what prompted our coming forward publicly is that we shudder to think of how many lives these people are ruining, and as result want to let those battling a mental illness know that they are not alone in their feelings of both dismay and betrayal and that they do in fact have options.

“A new approach to mental health care and services in Quebec? People suffering from a mental health problem will have to access care and services via the “accueil psychosocial” of his/her CLSC or through 1st line general practitioners.”

Despite the benefits of the purported new approach to health care and services in Quebec via the “accueil psychosocial” of a patient’s CLSC, I will be posting a series of articles in which I will refer to my exhaustive compilation of notes and supporting documentation to provide you with an insiders look at a broken system that does more harm than good, and what you need to do to take control of your or your family member’s treatment.


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