Schizophrenic man chops off own finger to get help

A Yellowknife mother is worried for her son after she says he cut off the tip of his own finger in a desperate attempt to get help from the hospital's psychiatric unit.
Kim Kameemalik says her family has tried everything to get help for her son, Jeff Porter, who struggles with schizophrenia. 2:25

A Yellowknife mother is worried for her son after she says he cut off the tip of his own finger in a desperate attempt to get help from the hospital's psychiatric unit.

Kim Kameemalik says her family has tried everything to get help for her son, Jeff Porter, who struggles with schizophrenia.

Jeff Porter has struggled with schizophrenia for the last six years. (CBC)

Kameemalik says Porter has assaulted her, his siblings, a social worker and police in the past. The latest incident has her more worried than ever about his safety.

"I kinda chopped it off myself," Porter says. "I had to do it cause I had some issues with like schizophrenia."

Porter is currently in the psychiatric unit at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife. But he won't be for long. Kameemalik is concerned when he's released, he'll be back on the streets and might do something even worse.

"It was mentioned that there is a likelihood that there isn't going to be a placement for him," Kameemalik says. "It does happen every week that people are released from psychiatrics [psychiatry unit] back onto the streets with nowhere to go."

Kim Kameemalik says there aren't enough mental health support services in the North to help people like her son and others. (CBC)

Porter has lived with schizophrenia for six years, most of it on the streets.

"I've been sleeping outside and staying at the salvation army … Life is a struggle to me I guess." 

His mother hopes to talk to the health minister later this week, to try to get him a place before he is released onto the streets next week.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.