The women’s wing of a center for addicts with severe mental health problems is at risk of closing its doors next month due to lack of government funding. On the other hand, services for men are not threatened, since they continue to be subsidized by Quebec.
Posted on February 25, 2021 at 5:29 p.m.
“If men can have it, why can’t women? Asked Stéphanie Medeiros, who attended Portage’s program for addicts with mental health problems (MSTD). “Women use drugs too. It completely changed me. It might help other women. ”
In 1995, the Addiction Rehabilitation Program for Men with Mental Health Problems opened. The twenty or so patients, who are always followed in parallel by health professionals, including psychiatrists, reside in the Portage center for the duration of the therapy, ie from six to eight months.
“The men’s program is funded by the Ministry of Health and Human Services,” Portage communications director Seychelle Harding explained.
From its inception, women have expressed their interest in having access to similar assistance as well. “When we renovated the building [vers 2006], we made a wing for women, with nine beds, in the hope of having funding for women, ”says Mme Harding.
We said to ourselves that, since we had funding for men, it went without saying to also have funding for women.
Seychelle Harding, Portage Communications Director
Funding from the Government of Quebec for this component ultimately did not come. However, thanks to an Ottawa grant of $ 479,000 as well as donations to the non-profit organization, women have been able to benefit from the program since 2018. Normally, the group can reach a maximum of nine women, but in pandemic time, only eight places are offered. A victim of its own success, there are always names on the waiting list.
Except that, since the purse is now empty, if no additional government assistance comes, Portage will have to close the center for women on March 31. “We are in talks with the Ministry of Health and Social Services for the survival of the program,” said Mme Harding, who said the Portage team were “worried”.
” It’s scandalous ! “, Launched his side Antonio Maturo, director of the TSTM program for men and women. “I don’t understand why they don’t fund [le programme] for women. ”
At the time of publication, requests made to the Ministry remained unanswered.
“The program has helped me a lot”
Stéphanie Medeiros is a great example of the success of the TSTM Femmes de Portage program. Suffering from schizoaffective disorder, she said that prior to therapy she had a serious problem with alcohol and drugs. “I was in a hospital, and I was strongly advised to go there. I didn’t want to know anything at first, but I must admit that the program has helped me a lot. It is a community. I was with several girls, 24 hours a day. ”
When she finished her therapy a year and a half ago, she lived in one of the supervised apartments in Portage and then in one of their community apartments, where she currently resides. She also works at Portage as a night porter. She never used afterwards, she said with pride.
When [les hommes et les femmes] come in here, schizophrenia has complete control over them. When they come out, they have control over the schizophrenia. Just that says a lot.
Antonio Maturo, director of the TSTM program
For this director, the success of the program depends in particular on the close links that they develop with the health professionals with whom they care for the residents of Portage. “The care is shared with them. We help with their consumption. But without the treatment team, there is nothing we can do. There are often periods of hospitalization. He gives as an example Stéphanie Medeiros, who, when she began her therapy, had to be hospitalized. “They adjusted her meds, and she came back here. ”
Established in 1973, Portage chose, many years ago, to offer gender-specific programming, because teams found that people were more comfortable doing this, said Ms.me Harding.
“We hope to find a solution with the government,” said the director of communications. So as not to end this beautiful program which is always full and which helps so many women to get back on the right track. ”
“It would be a mortal sin to shut it down,” concluded Mr. Maturo.
I hope you are in health and well.
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