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'The situation is deplorable': Mother speaks out on shortage of mental health resources

Last Updated Aug 27, 2021 at 6:57 am MDT

CALGARY — The pandemic has created a mental health crisis for adults and children alike — but one mother is worried that there aren’t enough resources to deal with the influx of patients.

Carman Podd went to emergency at the Children’s hospital last week as her 10-year-old son was experiencing a mental health crisis, little did she know, she would be there longer than expected.

“It ended up him being in bed, in the room now for 7 days, 6 nights in emergency because there were no beds available in Calgary,” Podd said.

To her frustration, Podd took to Facebook and shared her experience.

The response she got was overwhelming — hundreds of comments from parents who shared very similar stories.

“Hearing that I wasn’t alone was sadly comforting, but sad. Hearing that actually a week in emergency is almost expected is even sadder. And these are children.”


She adds a week in the emergency without a proper bed was actually on the better side of what could have happened, as nurses told her that her son could be waiting up to two weeks, and when she looked at the comments on her Facebook post, two weeks was the wait time for many other parents.

“The volume of people calling in has just blown up — people are scared and tired and worried and all day long that’s what’s happening,” said pediatrician Roxanne Goldade. “Everybody comes in with these monstrous big crazy problems, lists and lists of them.

“We just don’t have the bodies, I mean it’s just so hard to find a psychologist and I’ll be really frank, there are psychologists out there, but they cost money. Now, if you want a psychologist or a counsellor that’s paid for by Alberta health care, well, there’s just not many of them.”

Podd says although the wait time was horrible for her son, the health care professionals she encountered were amazing and doing the absolute best they could with what they had as the mental health wing is currently under renovations.

“I don’t have a bad thing to say it’s just the situation is… deplorable.

“Six beds in Calgary for children with mental health and you’re going to tell me that we believe in children’s mental health? Six beds,” Podd said.

Carman’s son received a bed at 8 p.m. on Monday and is currently getting the help he needs.

Alberta Health Services, in partnership with the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, is currently building The Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health – which is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2022.