There are questions that I know will never be able to be answered…there are other questions however, that I know someone has to be accountable to.
This past week I met with a therapist from the office that provided some of Willie mental health care. During the time of Willie illness and care he was seen by the following:
- 2 Therapists at with the Child and Youth Mental Health office (the CYMH – a government agency). This was our first stop after our family GP minimalized the suicide intent note and my visit to him asking for help.
- A psychiatrist in the ER at Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) for initial assessment
- A different Psychiatrist at RCH during his week in the Pediatric Unit.
- A team of therapists at the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit (the APU) at Surrey Memorial Hospital including case nurses, a Psychiatrist, a Social Worker and various counsellors.
- 2 Therapists with a separate counselling office where he was referred after his release from the APU
I have requested records from all of the above parties and have met with varied results with my requests. Another time I may go into details about the ineffectiveness of the system and the inadequacies that are rampant, about how communication is near impossible in many areas and how that affects care and treatment – but this isn’t the time for that.
In my meeting with the rep from the CYMH this past week I had no expectations. My request for Willie’s records from them has already been denied and my request permanently closed but when they offered me an in-person meeting to discuss my son’s care I thought I may as well.
Going in with no expectations was a good idea as I have learned from past encounters, and I wasn’t disappointed. The therapist I met with is new to the office and knows of my son’s case my notes and emails only. He had with him a summary report of Willie’s file – not his actual file – and started by explaining that he could not give me copies of any records; including the summary he was holding. He also explained that he was not able to even let me see or read the summary he was holding.
I have so many unanswered questions regarding Willie’s care, a couple of these questions very specific to this office that part of me had hoped to get answers to. I left that meeting without answers and with a heaviness as I have to acknowledge that I have questions that simply will never be put to rest. Answers that this rep did his best to dissuade me from seeking further. We spoke, at length, about funding and avenues of information and resources (and the lack of) and how “the system” needs reform and changes. He also danced beautifully around any inference of any party possibly being at fault on any level. He answered most of my direct questions with “I don’t know” or “I don’t have an answer for that”. After an hour it was apparent I was going to leave with nothing more than I arrived with in terms of knowledge.
So the questions remain – as so many will I believe. The biggest question of all now is what do I do now? Do I simply accept that on many levels the ball was dropped, Willie was not treated with the care that he should have been and go on with my life? Do I let it go as I have been counselled to by so many? Do I try to enact change on some vague, pro-active level…being active in mental health reform possibilities but letting Willie’s personal care issues go to rest? Do I try to hold the specific agencies and Doctors accountable – what will be gained by that? Vengeance? Will they think and act differently next time they are presented with a suicidal youth? Will it help the next youth? Or is it just my anger that is driving me to push forward and ask for the records?
It would be easiest, many say, for me to just accept that what is, is… and let go and move on; but is that what’s right?
Sitting with more questions than ever now. And still no answers.