To the editor:
The eventual closure of Crossroads is a tragedy. I have spent almost 40 years working in mental health, both as a therapist in private practice and as a nursing professor at Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON and Okanagan College.
I have supervised hundreds of nursing students during their clinical rotation on a psychiatric unit at Penticton, Vernon and Kelowna hospitals. I remember what I was told when several provinces closed psychiatric hospitals to place patients in the community: People with psychiatric issues do not cast their votes; hence they are not a priority for politicians.
Now it seems that people afflicted with alcohol and drugs are less Canadians than seniors.
Now if Interior Health tells you it would help to admit patients with alcohol and drug addictions, do not believe it. I do not recall many on now McNair Unit. If there were any, by the time I returned with students the following week, he or she was long gone. Both the Liberal Party and Interior Health are copping out.
To add insult to injury, when the closure of Crossroads was announced, there was a front-page article in a Kelowna newspaper about a for-profit private agency willing to step in. What was not mentioned was the cost. I was told by sources I would consider reliable that $9,000 a month would be in the ballpark.
The ingenuity of Interior Health and our local politicians speaks volumes. They both rely that the tempest would die down, in time. That is how this game is played.
MLA Norm Letnick has done some legwork on behalf of Crossroads and that’s about it. Now I will not be surprised if other Okanagan MLAs get into the act and claim to have perspired.
Do voters have any idea how our taxpayer money could have been better spent other than on feeling-good advertisements when the Liberal government is knee-deep in alligators?
Now with Premier Christy Clark, who has apparently hired a bunch of ex-Harper advisors, we are seeing the same negative advertisements about the opposition leader that have made Stephen Harper a trail-blazer.
But, this is the Okanagan and, despite 13 years of Gordon Campbell and now Christy Clark, nothing would change. Heck, locally, we see the odd orchestrated letter in the papers telling us how bad the NDP government was.
Now we have UBCO and a faculty of medicine and KGH is five times bigger than when I last took a look, mental health is still at the back of the bus because of a lousy three million bucks.
We should get rid of Interior Health and our local politicians. It is an absolute disgrace. Thank you Interior Health and the Liberal government.