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'Is anyone ever going to help me?' Mental health patient in crisis released from hospital more than once
LONDON, ONT. -- Kristin Legault suffers from severe bipolar disorder. It was earlier this year she shared her success story with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Legault says for the first time she was seeing a positive change with her mental health, but that all changed months ago.
“Because of the coronavirus all of my ECT treatments were discontinued,” says Legault. It’s been around two months without ECT treatments and her mental health has severely declined.
Just two weeks ago, she was suicidal, and police and ambulance were called when she attempted to take her life at her grandparents home in St. Thomas.
She says, “I saw a GP (general practitioner), I wasn’t formed and I didn’t see a psychiatric nurse. Actually they were more concerned with my physical health than my mental health.”
Legualt says about two hours after arriving at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital via ambulance, she was discharged without a next of kin being contacted.
“They just gave me directions on how to leave the hospital and I walked around Elm Street in St. Thomas at 2:30 a.m. by myself in my pyjamas.”
Her grandmother, Joanne Donkers, found her and got her home safe.
“She just walked out of hospital and I think that’s totally wrong. She could’ve gone anywhere and she was in real crisis and needed help.”
CTV News reached out to St. Thomas Elgin General hospital for comment, hospital communications staff replied via email saying:
"When a patient presents in the Emergency Department, they are triaged by a nurse and assessed by a skilled emergency physician. Based on the assessment, a decision to admit or discharge would be made.
"The decision to notify a family member is determined through a conversation with the patient. This process remains unchanged during COVID."
Days later and still feeling suicidal, Legault’s GP sent her to the London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) Victoria Hospital on a form for mental health crisis care.
She said again, less than two hours later she was released from the emergency department.
Her grandmother, who found her outside Victoria Hospital, says their family is desperate for help.
“We are not equipped to take care of Kristin in crisis. We do the best we can but we really think there should be more help for her.”
Legault says she’s feeling hopeless, “I feel like - Am I ever going to get better? Is anyone ever going to help me?”
Following a report on Thursday about a suicidal woman who went missing after being discharged from LHSC, CTV News has received a number of emails from mental health patients who also felt their concerns weren’t taken seriously.
We will be continuing our coverage on the state of mental health care next week.
CTV News will be speaking with a woman whose husband committed suicide immediately after being discharged from hospital.
She shares why she believes concerns she raised years ago are still not being addressed.