There are no toys piled in the corner of this eight-year-old boy’s bedroom. No books scattered on a shelf, no pet hamster in a cage.
Nothing, his mother says, except a bed and a dresser. Better safe than sorry.
“There’s been instances where he tries to even harm himself with a book,” she told Mary-Catherine McIntosh on CBC’s The Current.
The freckled-faced boy with grass-stained knees has been in and out of hospital for years with severe mental health problems.
His mother, whom CBC is not naming to protect the identity of the child, is one of a growing number of parents on the Island who are speaking out about the lack of treatment for their children in the P.E.I. health-care system.
ER not always equipped
She said when her son gets violent and starts throwing things, she takes him to the ER. But the hospital is not always equipped to deal with the situation.
‘There’s been times when I felt like I could not keep going.’
– Mother of boy struggling with mental illness
“He’s only eight and the pediatric unit with that type of behaviour is not appropriate,” she said. “Anytime he’s been there they had to do up a room for him. They have to put everything sharp away. They have to revamp the pediatric unit and he’s always on constant care. Sometimes he’s not admitted because they didn’t have constant care available.”
She started noticing problems when he was a toddler in daycare. He’d throw fits when she’d try to leave, and the problems progressed from there.
Years without diagnosis
For years, the boy didn’t even get a diagnosis. The mother said she was told again and again it was a behavioural issue, that she should put him to bed earlier and change his diet.
It wasn’t until one day last fall, fed up after waiting six days at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown…