I am writing to thank the writers of two articles in the July/August BCMJ, outlining some of the glaring inadequacies in mental health services to children and the developmentally disabled.
Dr Arruda [Out of control: Solving the child and youth mental health crisis. BCMJ 2008;50:298] noted that the situation facing children with mental health problems is critical. The recommendation to develop therapeutic respite/specialized mental health beds for children is the most urgent. However, I am not aware of anything to suggest that this is being addressed by the Ministry of Health. I hope that Dr Arruda’s committee can develop a strategy to push the government on this; otherwise nothing will happen.
The situation facing people with developmental disabilities and mental illness is somewhat different [The other dual diagnosis: Developmental disability and mental health disorders. BCMJ 50;2008:319-324]. While I cannot speak for all the psychiatrists in Prince George, it is my impression that generally no one wants to work with the developmentally disabled, not because of the patients, but because the Community Living BC system is so unfriendly, unwieldy, and difficult to work with. I think this is true not only for the psychiatrists but also for the patients, their families, other doctors, and other caregivers. The recommendations in the article should be given serious consideration, but I admit to a sense of despair that anyone in that system will listen. I commend the authors for raising these issues and wish them luck in trying to work for improvements for the developmentally disabled and their families.
—Barbara J. Kane, MD
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