Whitehorse Daily Star

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Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost

Access to psychiatric specialist services improved

The Yukon government has increased resident psychiatric support to improve patients’ access to care.

By Whitehorse Star on January 9, 2020

The Yukon government has increased resident psychiatric support to improve patients’ access to care.

There are now three resident psychiatrists working in the territory, based out of a new private practice in Whitehorse.

A new model of care has also been introduced, the government said Monday.

General psychiatric services are being provided at the private clinic and at Whitehorse General Hospital.

Treatment services are offered through Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services and the Referred Care Clinic. This model takes a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to mental health care.

Over the coming year, the psychiatric group will also develop a plan to provide both in-person and virtual care to rural Yukon communities, as well as ensuring 24/7 on-call hospital coverage.

Prior to this year, adult psychiatric services in the Yukon were provided by one visiting psychiatrist and one resident psychiatrist in private practice.

“Now that we have a critical mass of specialists, it should be easier to attract and keep new psychiatrists in Yukon in the future,” said Dr. Leo Elwell, a psychiatrist.

“We are starting a number of innovative programs aimed at improving access to psychiatric and addictions care in all of our communities.

“We are also actively recruiting other psychiatrists to help us on a part-time or full-time basis,” Elwell added.

“We are after a long-term, sustainable solution for psychiatric services in the territory.

“Doctors Jill Boyd, Dorothy Kuk and I are happy to be providing patient-centred care in a supportive environment.”

All three resident psychiatrists are Canadian-trained, fully qualified Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. One is also board-certified in addiction medicine.

The territory will continue to be supported by a visiting geriatric psychiatrist.

“Improving the mental wellness of Yukoners is a priority of our government because we recognize that healthy minds are just as important as healthy bodies,” said Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost.

“This is yet another important step toward ensuring that Yukoners have the mental health supports they need, when and where they need them.”

Comments (8)

Up 11 Down 3

YukonMax on Jan 13, 2020 at 7:19 am

I guess some minister(s) finally needed mental health. Good, the first step to recovery is reaching out.

Up 18 Down 8

Adler&Jones on Jan 10, 2020 at 8:37 pm

I personally would recommend an in house psychiatrist for the Legislative Assembly.
The power complex coupled with habitual lying makes for irresponsible decisions when it comes to Human Welfare and WCB, there's also a tendency for megalomaniac self interest to benefit themselves.

Up 14 Down 6

Max Mack on Jan 10, 2020 at 7:34 pm

"critical mass of specialists"


Up 20 Down 6

Juniper Jackson on Jan 10, 2020 at 1:15 pm

The parameters for being diagnosed with a mental health illness have become so broad that literally everyone qualifies.

I had a neighbor, 23 years old, sitting on his deck smoking weed, drinking beer and gaming..I asked him once how he could do that, and he was living on welfare/disability. I said, I was so sorry, what was it? He gets anxious when he has to think about getting a job. Yeah... Then there is the lady who posted here.. Marina, she is unable to function, suffering in that mental illness way, that those of us who don't respond that way, don't understand..no..I don't understand it, but I understand she is suffering...my fellow human being, why is one getting help every week, but the other not? Is mental health triaged? Or is it just big business these days, first come first served. Who decides if it is a mental health issue, or is everything a mental health issue?

Up 14 Down 7

Dr. Feelgood on Jan 10, 2020 at 9:16 am

Hmmm... An absolutely toxic department with a recently demonstrated public history of conflict that has an apparent monopoly on mental health services in the Yukon is now supported by a division of drug pushers. What could go wrong with this scenario?

I wonder what is meant by a holistic approach? Was this perhaps a typo and they meant wholistic - We are going to subsume the whole person to correct there mental, physical, and spiritual imbalances?

Was that not the approach that the government took with Residential Schools, the McGill University mind erasure experiments, forced sterilizations and other great and wonderful programs?

As Hall and Oates once lamented:
Easy, ready, willing, overtime
Where does it stop
Where do you dare me
To draw the line
You've got the body
Now you want my soul
Don't even think about it
Say no go

Up 18 Down 11

Matthew on Jan 10, 2020 at 7:29 am

Ahhh.. prove you're too "unstable" to work, here get free money for life.. where's my help? I wake up every morning sick to the stomach about how the gov is treating us all, making me mentally unstable..

Up 19 Down 4

Guncache on Jan 9, 2020 at 8:20 pm

Now with all this hoopla and other medical news, like free unlimited medical services for drug addicts how about something like the Shingrix vaccine for seniors.

Up 30 Down 6

Marina Hansen on Jan 9, 2020 at 3:03 pm

I have been dealing with depression and anxiety for years now. I have been able to see one of the psychiatrists maybe twice, my Councelling service provider has changed many times, making it very difficult to gain trust and to make a good connection with one care provider. The Councelling provider I have now is not a person that I want to see for my own reasons but that leaves me with just my regular doctor who is trying. I have not seen my psychiatrist now for over a year and I have been in the hospital once in the last 3 months because of a mental breakdown and still I can’t see my psychiatrist. It is just to long of a wait and some of the help that is available is not worth talking to. Please, please find a way to get us some help. I am begging you.

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