It has been confirmed. The Montreal Island-East CIUSSS is closing its child psychiatry service that serves thousands of young patients. The union representing professional and technical personnel (CUPE 5425) is dismayed and concerned about the major consequences this will have on the quality of services provided to residents of this sector of Montreal, which is already lacking services, particularly in the area of health and social services.

“When it comes to services, the citizens in Eastern Montreal always get the short end of the stick. First, there was a pullback on enhanced public transit service, and now the mental health services available to our struggling young people are being affected,” said interim president of CUPE 5454, Marie-Hélène Brunet.

The CIUSSS is planning on referring this vulnerable clientele up north to the Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital.

“We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that this clientele has chronic, severe and complex mental health problems. Management of these cases also includes therapeutic follow-up involving the child and their family every week and sometimes more often. CIUSSS clientele often come from families with limited financial means and other vulnerabilities (immigration, single parenthood, etc.). It would take them about an hour or an hour and a half for them to travel one way to that hospital, which has no metro service. Difficulties signing up for services and family attendance are some of the issues associated with the services provided. It is feared that adding two to three hours of travel time would be a disincentive to some families that would no longer have access to the care they deserve,” added CPAS president Maxime Saint-Marie.

The union is demanding that the CIUSSS reverse this irresponsible decision. The union will be embarking on a campaign to raise awareness in schools on this territory and community organizations affected by this closure. Several elected officials have already voiced their concerns and are supporting the union’s campaign.

CUPE 5425 represents all technicians and professionals with the Montreal Island-East CIUSSS, some 2300 members in 66 different job categories spread among the 45 Montreal Island-East CIUSSS facilities.