Saskatoon·Election Spotlight

Sask. mom wants quicker access to mental health consultant after son dies from fentanyl overdose

A mother in Saskatoon wants the province to cut wait times to access a psychiatrist after her son Stefan died of a fentanyl overdose last year.

Mental health, addictions a concern for Saskatoon mom whose son overdosed

Sask. mom wants shorter wait times for psychiatrists after son dies from fentanyl overdose

6 years ago
Duration 1:49
A mother in Saskatoon wants the province to cut wait times to access a psychiatrist after her son Stefan died of a fentanyl overdose last year. 1:49

As a part of our continuing provincial election coverage, CBC is putting a face to some of the issues people in this province are concerned about before they vote. Here are some of their personal stories.

A mother in Saskatoon wants the province to cut wait times to access a psychiatrist after her son Stefan died of a fentanyl overdose last year. 

At just 25 years old, Stefan Tomlinson's life ended after struggling with mental health issues and addiction.

His mother, Faye Tomlinson, and the rest of the family tried their best to intervene and help her son.

"This all kind of came to us and it hit us like a lead balloon," said Tomlinson. 

Before Stefan's death, Tomlinson was able to get him into a psychiatrist after months of waiting.

After the first appointment, Stefan got into trouble and was put into jail for three months. When Tomlinson told the psychiatrist he would miss the next appointment because of this, she was told they would have to start the process all over again.

"To have to start from scratch again was devastating as a mother," said Tomlinson. It took six months to see another psychiatrist. 

"All of this time, Stefan was still willing to keep going to a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, a week later after his first appointment is when he died of a fentanyl overdose."

Faye Tomlison's son Stefan died of a fentanyl overdose last year. (CBC News)
​Tomlinson said had they not had to wait and start the process over, it would have been a different outcome.

Now she's hoping the government takes mental health and addiction seriously and addresses wait times to see a consultant.

"I don't want big promises. I don't want them to say that, this what we'll promise to do, create big plans without any thought to long term. I don't want any short-term solutions. Build on what already exists"

​Tomlinson says she uses Stefan's attitude as an inspiration to create change.  

"If you were hurting, he was there for you. Always. So, in some ways I'd like to see that for other people. And in some ways that's how our family looks at it. If someone is hurting and they need help, let's just be there for them."
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Devin Heroux

CBC reporter

Devin Heroux reports for CBC News and Sports. He is now based in Toronto, after working first for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon.

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