A Yellowknife mother whose son has schizophrenia is frustrated with the lack of mental health services in the NWT. She says her son is forced to live on the streets and she wants the government to come up with a plan to help him and others like him.
Kim Kameemalik says she can't get help for her son who suffers from schizophrenia. His behaviour is sometimes violent and unpredictable. He's even physically assaulted her, she says.
Kameemalik says she went to Social Services, among other places to try and get help. "We learned fast that there wasn't much we could do. We accessed every program, every resource we knew in town," Kameemalik says.
'We're very scared that someone is gonna hurt him or that he's gonna hurt someone else'- Concerned mother Kim Kameemalik
After six years, her son is still struggling, she says. He's gone in for help and treatment, but as soon as he leaves, he goes off his medications and the problems start up again.
Kameemalik says the North needs a long-term culturally-sensitive facility to help people like her son.
"He's at risk all the time. He's in the downtown core day and night," she says. "We don't want him to be hurt. We're very scared that someone is gonna hurt him or that he's gonna hurt someone else and than you know that will impact him for the rest of his life."
Kameemalik says the system has basically left it up to her son to seek help.
But the Director for social programs with the territorial government says there are laws on the books that give a third party — like Kim Kameemalik — the authority to act on the person's behalf if they can't.
"It's not simply a matter of more resources, as is sometimes the case," Andy Langford says. "People have to be willing and able to access the resources that are available. For this young man for instance there would be supports, there would be residential placements to him if he was willing and able to take advantage of those."
"But sometimes people aren't. That's an unfortunate reality we face," Langford says.