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Harvey Moldofsky
View Harvey Moldofsky Profile
Harvey Moldofsky
2013-12-03 10:20
Put out requests for applications targeting the topics I'm talking about, and you'll get an answer.
View Kirsty Duncan Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
To all my colleagues, I want to express my heartfelt condolences and I know we all do, to the families of the people we lost last week. My prayers and thoughts are with them.
Like all of you, I've had the privilege of working with service people and veterans across our country. I've heard their stories: a veteran living for 10 years in the bush; receiving a suicide note from a veteran on Sunday afternoon and having to find help; having to find a veteran lost in a snowstorm because no psychiatrist appointment was coming for three months despite a diagnosis of PTSD for years and years; not hearing from a veteran for weeks and waiting for him to re-emerge from the darkness of his basement; receiving a note from a veteran distraught because a young friend was found dead on the roadside and another dead in the basement, both of whom had simply stopped living, had given up eating and taking their medication. I will share these comments and again, my condolences to the families.
This is what I hear from our country's extraordinary heroes in their desperation: “We are all suffering and we need help. It's not only guys we lose overseas, it's the guys we lose here to suicide. They may as well have died overseas. We have all contemplated it, the thoughts are relentless. When I contemplate suicide, it is a relief. It means stopping the pain, no more fights with that. The question we ask ourselves is how can we leave and leave our family in a better position. Everyone else is better without us.” This is from a physician who veterans call the “Guardian Angel”, “They are hurting, their families are hurting. Many wives have contacted me. They are afraid to stay with them. They are afraid of them and for them.”
I'm wondering if you can share in a broad sense, the symptoms that the people you treat are suffering from. What does their life look like and what should we be doing?
Harvey Moldofsky
View Harvey Moldofsky Profile
Harvey Moldofsky
2013-12-03 10:22
I'm deeply grateful to you for those comments. I've heard these stories. I've seen them.
Do you know what it takes for someone to see a psychiatrist in the province of Ontario? They have to wait.
I don't understand that. I've been a teacher and received awards for many years.
Let the stats speak for themselves. The average psychiatrist in Ontario sees two new people a week. There will never be enough at that rate. We need to have identified clinics where these people can be rapidly identified and assessed.
View Kirsty Duncan Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's a recommendation, rapidly identified and assessed.
How were patients referred to you?
Harvey Moldofsky
View Harvey Moldofsky Profile
Harvey Moldofsky
2013-12-03 10:24
I'm what's called—I don't even know if I'm tertiary; I'm way down the line. They've seen many physicians. They've even been seen at other centres across the country. I'm grateful to Don Richardson for identifying these people and trying to get them in, but do you know what it takes to get them in? I would see them the next day. “I'm busy”: it's not just physicians not being available; patients need to be strongly encouraged that they have to be seen.
Harvey Moldofsky
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Harvey Moldofsky
2013-12-03 10:24
I don't understand it. I ask them who they have seen, and what they have done. They tell me, “Oh, I saw somebody, a psychiatrist, and they said I'm nervous and they gave me a tranquilizer.” They didn't even think they had PTSD. So they took the pills, got hooked, got into drugs or alcohol, and got into trouble. Then they get identified.
View Kirsty Duncan Profile
Lib. (ON)
I had U.S. military doctors up here last spring to talk about brain injury, to talk about PTSD. They were very concerned about suicide. I mean, some numbers, Veterans Affairs reports—
View Peter Kent Profile
CPC (ON)
View Peter Kent Profile
2013-12-03 10:25
Very briefly, Ms. Duncan. I'm sorry, but your time is almost up.
View Kirsty Duncan Profile
Lib. (ON)
Can you talk, very briefly, about the rising number of suicides in the U.S. and what this might mean here?
Harvey Moldofsky
View Harvey Moldofsky Profile
Harvey Moldofsky
2013-12-03 10:26
I think the best-kept secret is that this will have a phenomenal financial impact on our health care system. The U.S. government isn't telling, and I don't know where that information is. I certainly haven't read anything.
View Peter Kent Profile
CPC (ON)
View Peter Kent Profile
2013-12-03 10:26
Thank you, Dr. Moldofsky.
We have time for two final five-minute segments: first Mr. Williamson, and then Mr. Boulerice.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Chair.
It's good to see you, Doctor.
You've sent a bit of a chill through the room with respect to some of your comments. I want to read you something from the surgeon general's mental health strategy and ask you to comment on it:
Due to the relatively small number of suicides among CAF members each year, it is not possible to identify statistically significant changes from year to year. Rates must therefore be assessed over five-year periods. The United States Army’s suicide rate has doubled over the past decade and there has been considerable attention to the rate of suicide in the CAF. Suicide rates have, in contrast, remained stable in the CAF over the last 10 years. Suicide rates in the CAF are no higher, and are in fact lower, than those in the general population of the same age and sex. There is no increased rate of suicide among those who have deployed versus those who have not.
What do you make of that in terms of some of your comments?
Harvey Moldofsky
View Harvey Moldofsky Profile
Harvey Moldofsky
2013-12-03 10:27
Briefly, it speaks to itself.
Did anybody ask him where he got the data? Did anybody ask him, “What do you know about vets”?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Are you suggesting that the surgeon general is not looking, or not doing his job, or...? Do you think there's an attempt to hide this data, or that it's just not being collected? What are you suggesting, exactly?
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