More needed to help families navigate mental health services: CMHA
Published Wednesday, January 27, 2016 6:00PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, January 27, 2016 8:31PM CST
A Manitoba woman worries it's too hard to navigate mental health services, when a family is dealing with a crisis.
Hannah Pratt faced difficulties knowing where to turn when her mom was living with depression.
Pratt hopes sharing her mom's story will help end the stigma around mental illness and continue to get people talking about how to make improvements to mental health care.
Like many mothers and daughters, Hannah and Terry Pratt had a special bond.
Anytime Hannah wanted to share exciting news she would send a text message to her mom right away.
"She would always call herself my biggest cheerleader,” said Pratt. “She was always there for me whenever I needed anything."
Hannah still instinctively reaches for her phone even though her mother is no longer around to answer.
Terry Pratt died by suicide in March 2014 after living with depression for six months.
"It's just a challenging thing for anybody to deal with,” said Pratt. “Grieving somebody who you've lost in such an extreme and sudden way."
Hannah's family stayed by Terry's side before while she lived with depression.
They got help for her mom from counsellors, a psychologist and support groups.
Pratt found the system difficult to navigate at times and wishes there was more help available for families trying to help a loved one.
"We had all the supports we could ever want but because we found them ourselves,” said Pratt. “We were doing the groundwork."
The Canadian Mental Health Association said a formalized service to help families link to the right services would help.
"It's been identified across the health system that that's an important mechanism that needs to be in place,” said CMHA executive director Marion Cooper. “We don't currently have it so more funding is needed."
Manitoba's Minister of Healthy Living, Deanna Crothers, said there are organizations like the Manitoba Health Education Resource Centre which can help guide families.
"You can call in, sometimes walk in and talk to someone,” said Crothers. “I'm sure that those resources would be available to help people know what the next steps are."