New mental health facility needed, say Montague staff

A group of employees at a mental health centre in Montague says it is time for the province to open a new facility.

Clients lack privacy at the Montague Community Mental Health and Addictions Centre, the group says. The waiting rooms are too small, and the offices aren't soundproof.

The current mental health facility in Montague lacks privacy for patients, says UPSE president Debbie Boyver. (CBC)

"Because of the stigma that's out there, people don't want other community members to know that they have a mental health issue or an addiction issue," says Debbie Boyver, president of the Union of Public Sector Employees.

"A lot of people still function with some of those issues, and they don't want their co-workers and their neighbours knowing that stuff."

Employees often keep the radio on in the hallway to drown out private conversations happening in the offices. In a letter to the province, 17 staff members outlined all the faults of the existing building.

In addition to the privacy concerns, they say there aren't enough offices. Pam Trainor, executive director of mental health and addictions at Health PEI, acknowledges new offices at the far end of the build are just a temporary fix.

"This space is not ideal, but certainly there are measures put in place and those are short term measures to address some of those challenges," said Trainor.

There aren't enough offices in the Montague Community Mental Health and Addictions Centre, say staff. (CBC)

"We're looking now at what a longer term plan would look like."

Staff members say those long-term plans should include a move to a larger, newer facility on the Montague waterfront.

The former federal addictions research building is currently sitting vacant. Health PEI won't say if a move to that building is an option.

Trainor said Health PEI will meet with the Department of Infrastructure Renewal to see what can be done to improve conditions at the Montague facility.