Grand River Hospital – Stop The Bleeding

Grand River Mental Health

As my family has had direct exposure to the staff and facilities at Grand River Hospital’s mental health care, I have been distressed and disturbed by the recent changes going on there. You may recall this article written about my daughter Melissa.

I am asking all of you to read the following and click the link at the bottom to sign the petition urging the hospital to stop this. I am sure we all know someone affected by mental illness. On behalf of my family, I thank you for taking the time. Here’s the basics:

“The Mental Health treatment services are essentially being dropped for children and adolescents in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. The only treatment provided will be “urgent”, where a patient will receive a mere three sessions then be referred to community resources. Community services are often provided by less-trained and less-experienced staff. They often involve sliding-scale payment, long wait-lists, and are time-limited. People with severe and complex mental health concerns will be expected to move from therapist to therapist, which often fails to facilitate stabilization or recovery. Essentially, they will be left with no help. The only treatment available that comes from trained professionals is very expensive and therefore unavailable to most people in need.
Historically the outpatient treatment services have had an over 95% client satisfaction rating and yet are being dismantled without feedback from the people they serve. The broader political context is it is happening despite the federal initiative for children’s mental health.
Grand River Hospital will have lost 4 child psychiatrists and 2 clinical managers in the last 8 months largely due to the types of shifts in services and leadership.
They are not making these changes known to the community but we are here to SPREAD THE WORD.
Sign and stop the dismantling of the Outpatient Mental Health Programs for Children and Adolescents.”

Click here to sign the petition.

After signing, please share with everyone you know.

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5 Responses to Grand River Hospital – Stop The Bleeding

  1. larrylootsteen says:

    Reblogged this on Larry Lootsteen's Blog.

  2. Cheryl Evans says:

    Hi Larry,
    Thanks for your messages. Our challenge in our child and adolescent mental health service at this time is professional staff recruitment to fill vacancies. We need to replace three child and adolescent psychiatrists who, for unrelated reasons, have had to leave our program within a short time frame.

    As a result, most of our available psychiatry time has had to be directed to our most ill patients on the child and adolescent inpatient unit. We can only offer a reduced outpatient service until recruitment is complete.

    We are looking at ways to continue to provide care in the meantime through:
    – other available disciplines like nursing, social work and psychologists for those patients who may not need to see a psychiatrist;
    – dedicating any additional hours that psychiatrists working on the inpatient unit have to the outpatient programs;
    – working with other professional groups and organizations to create as many alternatives for outpatients as we can in the interim; and
    – developing a strong recruitment plan to fill these vacancies.

    We’re also working with McMaster University to provide residency programs with the goals of fostering the education and growth of the health professionals of tomorrow and attracting more professionals to GRH.

    Thank you for your support of the children’s mental health service at GRH. We see it as important as well and will be working hard to see that it has the physician resources it requires to continue to serve the needs of young people who are living with a mental illness.

    Thank you,

    Cheryl Evans
    Communications Department
    Grand River Hospital

    • larrylootsteen says:

      Let’s face it, nothing like this should ever happen. And by the way, is it 3 or 4 child psychiatrists?

      With the so-called ‘focus’ on mental health the last few years you’d think funding and fundraising by the hospital would be a major priority. There’s a complete lack of confidence from patients, parents and workers that there is any kind of serious support being given here.

      You can tell me ‘we do this, we do that’ but the fact is there are still far too many people, adults, adolescents and children who fall through the cracks, don’t have access to programs and on. And now even more of them will suffer for this.

      Hospitals budget for bang-for-buck. What gives them returns. What keeps them in the black with the government. Lobbying for mental health dollars and targeted fundraising should be a priority. Much moreso now. What is the hospital doing in that regard? You can shuffle the decks, shut off access, say words like ‘partnering’ but what is actually being done?

      The wait list for YAP and other programs are monstrous. And per the hospitals actions to date, hardly important to you. Adding 5 spaces to a program is great except when there are hundreds with need. I and many others have seen no movements in this area for YEARS. Don’t you think its time to put your money where your mouth is?

      • Cheryl Evans says:

        Hi Larry – just to clarify, we’re hoping to fill three vacancies in total. Four left but we gained one.

        In the past five years, we’ve expanded mental health services at both our KW and Freeport Sites to offer more acute, ongoing and transition care. We agree that there is a great need for mental health services here in our community and in other communities.

        The mental health and well being of those in our community should be important to all of us because it’s a community issue. This is why it’s important for us to work with all available resources, including community supports and other care disciplines to develop a plan to provide this care now, and in the future.

        This issue is not a budget issue and we’re hopeful we’ll be able to successfully recruit and fill these positions within the next 12-18 months.

        I hope this helps to clarify some of the points you mentioned. Please feel welcome to contact me and if you would like to schedule a meeting to meet in person to discuss, please let me know.

        Many thanks,


      • larrylootsteen says:

        I completely disagree that this isn’t a budget issue. Maybe not for your immediate hiring needs but the entire system here, which is not providing anywhere the volume of service needed. This just brought to the fore how fragile the level of support really is. You need look no further than your wait lists for services like YAP. Up to 18 months to get help is disturbing at best…and how many kids are lost with those kinds of wait times?

        The hospital needs to do some serious investment here. Not just buildings but truly supporting the programs. Budget realignment, improved lobbying of the province for funding for this, targeted donations and targeted fundraising. These are the types of things that will help.

        I would love to meet and appreciate the offer. However I don’t see what benefit that would have on anything. What is needed is action on the part of the hospital. No one seems to be treating this as as anything but a bump in the road. Kids are out there suffering. This is a crisis.

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