Mother calls for residential care for mental health and addictions

Dianne Young plans to stage a protest outside Province House Tuesday in memory of her son Lennon Waterman, who would have turned 30 this week.
Dianne Young says P.E.I. needs residential care for addictions treatment on the Island. (CBC)

A P.E.I. mother is calling for in-province residential care for people on P.E.I. with addictions and mental illness.

Dianne Young plans to stage a protest outside Province House Tuesday in memory of her son Lennon Waterman, who would have turned 30 this week.

Young believes her son committed suicide last November. Waterman was last seen on the North River causeway in Charlottetown. An intensive ground and water search failed to turn up a body.

At the time, Young said she didn't blame anyone for her son's death, but she said more must be done to help Islanders who suffer from both mental illness and drug addictions.

She said her son was tormented by both for more than a decade. 

"People don't even look at it as a disease," said Young.

"People aren't treated the same as someone who has cancer and went to the hospital looking for help. When someone goes to the hospital in a desperate state, a suicidal state and gets turned away, that has to change."

In-province residential care needed

Young said her son was sent to addiction treatment centres in New Brunswick and in Ontario. She told CBC News that P.E.I. needs a similar residential facility that would be available for all ages, and would treat both mental illnesses and addictions.

Young said she's tired of excuses from the province.

"There's no money in the budget for health care or mental illness or addiction, but there is money in the budget for entertainment for the summer to attract tourists. They need to get their priorities straight," she said.

The province recently announced it would spend more than $1 million in new initiatives to deal with prescription drug problems, but Young still has concerns.

"There's been enough studies and enough talk.. It's time that they did some action", said Young.

Young will speak outside Province House on 5:30 Tuesday.