News Item – Most mental-health patients don’t get timely psychiatric care in Ontario, study finds

The majority of people treated in an Ontario emergency room after a suicide attempt are not seen by a psychiatrist within six months, according to a new study.

Even patients who are admitted to hospital for a serious mental-health issue – a high bar given bed shortages – rarely receive timely follow-up care. Two-thirds don’t see a psychiatrist within the first month after being discharged, even when the government offers the specialists extra cash.

The large-scale study, published Monday in the CMAJ, highlights a chronic problem in the country’s mental-health care system: The people most in need don’t get access to the specialists best trained to heal them – even in times of crisis.

And without a fix to the way psychiatrists are paid, how they work within the health-care system, or the kind of patients they treat, that’s not going to change. In fact, the shortage will only get worse, as psychiatrists, particularly those in smaller communities, close in on retirement.

Full article at: Globe and Mail