A Calgary father says families who take care of young adults with mental illnesses should have access to some of the patient's health information.

Kevin Jackson's 19-year-old son suffers from psychosis and was recently admitted for three weeks to the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Ponoka, Alta.

"We don't know a lot about what went on there because we were shut out."

Jackson says the family could not get any information about his son's treatment, prognosis or even the day and time at which his son would be released from the facility.

"He just left with his bag and paper in his hand and we're supposed to figure it out," said Jackson.

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The Jackson family wants access to some of their adult son's treatment information for mental illness in order to better support him at home. (CBC)

Four days after arriving home with only a two-page list of his medications, the voices in his son's head persisted and the young man tried to kill himself by overdosing on his sleeping pills.

Adult children

Jackson's son is not required to share his treatment information because he is over the age of 18.

Tara Arkes of the Schizophrenia Society of Calgary says many families deal with the same thing when their children turn 18 and the flow of information stops. 

"They're financially supporting them, they're providing a roof over their head, they're putting food in their mouths, yet when it comes to their mental health the parents have no say."

Calgary psychologist Patrick Baillee agrees it is a common problem.

"If the family is essentially going to be the primary caregiver, then I think we need to find a better balance than the absolute —it's up to the patient — who may not be in the best position to make that decision."

Baillee has taken part in research on the issue which is being conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.