Ajax-Pickering Hospital– Mental Health Services

I was at the meeting tonight but left early. I was there for the presentation and the beginning of the questions- statements, exchanges getting heated.

I have to read over the paper handouts I was given still.

Mental Health services are something that hits home with me, my brother was Schizophrenic and as a family we dealt with it for fourteen years appx. I am quite experienced with the system, many sectors of it. Access and community support are key.

We lived in Fonthill and our Hospital was in Welland, about the distance from many places in Pickering to the hospital here in Ajax as a reference. They can say all they want about the emergency services being available but for the support of the patient it is imperative they remain in comfortable and familiar surroundings, what better place then their own community where the family members and friends can easily come to visit.

I left the Open house when a woman was making some statements that Mental illness does not discriminate. Got me thinking about my brother and I had to leave.

If you were at this standing room open meeting please share what else transpired after- I heard the first question then Mr. Parish Sr, then the women who uses services at the Hospital.

Why would the LHIN put Mental Health services at risk in a community? do you know what year this is? it is the 25th anniversary of the The Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office (PPAO). If you want to read more about the issues faced by those with Mental health problems the site has a lot of information. The special 25th anniversary report will be out in May at some point.

Read about LHIN act advocacy here.

2 Responses to “Ajax-Pickering Hospital– Mental Health Services”

  1. Brian Johnson Says:


    This topic hits very closely to home with me. Over the past few months you’ve begun to know me quite well. Because you have lived with it it probably won’t come as a shock to you but, to many it comes as a shock that I am a relative of someone with a severe mental illness. They have been undergoing treatment for close to the last 8 years.

    The comments of mental illness does not descriminate is entirely true. I’m an upper income earner. My skin colour, my station in life, the size of my house, my car, my job, none of it matters. Mental illness is, at least to me, one of the most destructive of conditions.

    We, as a society still attach a stigma that forces people with mental illness to hang their heads in shame and often not seek treatment.

    The collateral damage is extensive and, frankly, has had enough affect on me that I have considered whether it is driving me into a state of chronic depression where I need to consider seeking help.

    However, there are obviously problems with the system.

    There are a number of issues with the current situation. Although I could not attend this evening, I made a point of calling Joe prior to the meeting to voice what I thought we needed to do.

    First, let me take my stance on the mental health beds. As a person who is a member of a family who has used the mental health facilities at RVAP, I have to say I found the benefit of the services substandard at best (again, I’m only speaking from personal experience and others may differ). My experience was that it seemed to be a revolving door of medication. In all honesty, my loved one did not receive what i would consider adequate treatment until they got access to the Clarke Institute (now CAMH)

    My loved one would go to RVAP and spend 15 minutes getting a perscription instead of getting the necessary cognative behavioural therapy that they needed. Frankly, service was substandard and a joke.

    You know that I am a HUGE advocate of our hospital and how much work I do for it. That said, I’m entirely unimpressed by the level of service in this capacity and frankly, do not think it is the best investment of our tax dollars. However, that is not what this mess is about.

    Do we need mental health services in at RVAP? I don’t know. Frankly, they are simply a victim of a greater problem. They are the victim of an inefficient board and a funding model based on inaccurate census data. This is not a matter of Ajax Pickering vs Scarborough Centennary. This is a case of a board that has mismanaged our hospital’s money.

    Why is it that when the board mismanages our money, we lose services but they keep their jobs? Here is what I asked of Joe Dickson when I spoke with him. (btw I am a HUGE supporter of Joe and consider him a personal friend who I would pretty much bend over backwards to help in any way I could)

    I told Joe that I believe that this issue goes beyond our LHIN. The board is on record as saying our money was mismanaged. The province bailed them out to the tune of $10M and the town donated $250,000 that is now gone. The debt is now running at $80M. Where did this money go. I told Joe that we need a public inquiry above the LHIN level. It’s obvious that this current board and the one before it are ill prepared to manage our budget. Each member needs to be evaluated and either removed or reinstated.

    The public inquiry needs to determine where this money went and, if necessary, determine whether the board operated within its mandate. Furthermore, if necessary, dependant on the findings of the inquiry, we need to launch criminal investigations on individual members of the board if any untoward activity took place.

    Obviously money has been spent innefficiently where it was spent and who championed the individual causes needs to be evaluated.

    On another tier our funding model for RVAP has to be seriously re evaluated and adjusted. Our hospital serves well over 200,000 people at this point and NEEDS to be a full service hospital. We are the only full service facility between Oshawa and Toronto and it is surrounded by one of the fasted growing communities in Ontario. It needs to get its due funding.

    Finally, I find the board’s angle on this reprehensible. Personally I put a lot of energy into our hospital. I chair and have sponsored a major chairitable event for our hospital. How can I hope to go to the corporations in our area and ask them for money with the optics this wasteful board has created? There is already so much donor fatigue out there and our local developers and other corporations continue to come to the table and help. Imagine the challenge it presents for me when I go ask OLG or Runnymede/Tribute to hand me $10,000 to $15,000 for a table of 10. Invaribly their community spirit and generosity wins out but, in light of the latest news I’m almost embarrased to ask them.

    Karem: Thanks for sharing Brian. The Office of the Ontario Ombudsman should be conducting an investigation but NOPE - The Ombudsman is shut out of the MUSH Sector— MUNICIPALITIES– Universities—School Boards — HOSPITALS .


    Hah hah, the “security word” I had to type out was “apathy”. (ah, “apathy”, where would we be without it?)

    Karem, don’t know if this is the right place to drop down this comment or not, but first, congrats on the terrific Letter to the Editor that you wrote on behalf of the citizens of Ajax. Great reminder on behalf of all citizens of Ontario that the MUSH sector is floundering under the radar. Ontarians need the Ontario Ombudsman having full investigative powers into Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals.

    Just want to give you a heads-up that Niagara (city) has opted out of Local Authority Services now that Niagara Region has chosen to go with the Ontario Ombudsman.

    So here, Karem, good news for citizens of Niagara.

    Here’s the URL.


    “Switch to ombudsman almost complete
    Niagara Falls dumps private company, opts for free service
    Posted By Corey Larocque
    Posted 4 hours ago

    Ontario’s ombudsman Andre Marin is expected to take over this week as the city’s closed-door meeting investigator after Niagara Falls severed ties with the private company originally hired to handle complaints about inappropriate meetings.

    Councillors voted March 31 to turn to the Ombudsman of Ontario to satisfy a new rule requiring all municipalities to appoint an investigator who would look into allegations from the public that politicians met improperly behind closed doors.”

    Keep on keepin’ on. Love the capital “N” and “O” in “NO accountablity”. You know, considering it was no other than Mississauga who stated that “all municipal governments are responsible and accountable governments.” (Isn’t that a HOOT?)

    The Mississauga Muse

    Karem: I try to be creative with the security words :), thanks for the information on Niagara going to Ombudsman for investigator, I knew it was in the works. Come to Ajax on the 21st.!

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