Mental health is at the heart of the dramas that shake Montreal in 2023

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Mental health is at the heart of the tragedies shaking Montreal in 2023

The five homicides that have occurred in Montreal since the beginning of the year all have in common that they were committed in the context of an intra-family drama linked to a mental health problem.

On Friday, March 17, three people were killed in a stabbing attack in an apartment in the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie , to Montreal. (File photo)

While the population of Montreal is concerned about armed violence, it is rather that caused by mental health problems that has been in the news since the beginning of the year.

A situation that can exacerbate anxiety in many people.

Faced with the negative news that we see in the news, we can feel helpless in the face of what is happening, which fuels anxiety. To get out of this powerlessness, it is important to try to regain some control over our daily lives, recommends Dr. Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, clinical psychologist, speaker and associate professor at UQAM.

The anxiety and mood disorder specialist suggests limiting news consumption to what is necessary to stay informed and to remember that these are rare events.

Psychologist Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier. (File photo)

“Our brain tends to over-invest in negative news, which colors our perception of the world as being more threatening. Putting into words how you feel is very helpful and, if necessary, talking to a mental health professional. »

— Dr. Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, clinical psychologist

On January 25, Emmanuel Gendron-Tardif (28), stabbed his 61-year-old mother, Lysanne Gendron, in her apartment from Fullum Street. The filmmaker had been known for his mental health issues for several years.

He was charged with the murder of his mother, declared unfit to appear and was immediately sent to the Pinel Institute for 30 days. His case is due back in court on March 28.

According to the police, marks of violence were apparent on the body of Lysane Gendron.

Then, on February 19, a 26-year-old woman, Amel Benali, also known for mental health problems, is suspected of having stabbed her 54-year-old mother, Luiza Ouali.

SPVM officers first went to an apartment building on rue de Liège in the Parc-Extension district to intervene after the knife attack on a 23-year-old neighbor, reported to 9-1 -1.

When the patrol officers wanted to question the mother of the young woman who lived in the neighboring apartment, they made the gruesome discovery of the body which bore marks of violence at neck level. According to our information, the death dated back to several hours before the arrival of the police.

The circumstantial evidence is therefore not directly linked to the 26-year-old young woman, but the police still suspect her of having killed her mother.

The murder of Luiza Ouali is the second to occur on SPVM territory this year. (File photo)

Amel Benali was sent for psychiatric evaluation at the Pinel Institute and is due to return to court on March 22. At the moment, she only faces charges of assault with a weapon against her neighbor, but homicide charges could be added if the criminal investigation has progressed sufficiently.

Finally, on Friday March 17, Arthur Galarneau is accused of having committed irreparable harm by having stabbed to death his grandmother, Francine Gingras-Boucher, as well as his father and mother, Richard Galarneau and Mylène Gingras (53 years old) .

The 19-year-old defendant was known to have mental health issues, but had no criminal record. The latter was subdued and arrested by the SPVM in a state of total crisis, covered in blood from head to toe.

He was taken to Santa Cabrini Hospital after his arrest to treat injuries. He now faces three counts of second degree murder. He will have to return to court on April 11.

These are events that can plunge loved ones into deep suffering, painful sadness, says Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, clinical psychologist.

It reminds us that access to psychological health services must absolutely be offered for as long as necessary.

The mental health professional concludes that it will take time, a caring presence on the part of loved ones, and, for some, the possibility of eventually making sense of what that they live or act to get out of the feeling of powerlessness, for example by getting involved in prevention and awareness.

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