Action Autonomie, the collective for the defense of mental health rights in Montreal, wishes to react to the comments made by Martine Landry in her testimony published on March 30.

This is not to minimize the difficulties experienced by the relatives of some people with mental health diagnoses. However, we are convinced that authoritarianism and the repression of the fundamental freedoms of the people concerned do not solve anything and aggravate their discomfort, in particular by deteriorating the therapeutic relationship necessary for their return to balance.

We have also produced detailed portraits of the use of Bill P-38, the Act respecting the protection of persons whose mental state presents a danger to themselves or to others, by Montreal health establishments since its entry into force. in force in 19982. We have seen a constant increase in the number of requests (1500 in 1999, more than 5000 in 2022) as well as an increase in the duration of custody authorizations obtained (the current standard is 30 days).

In many cases, the person concerned is neither present in court nor represented by a lawyer. The hearing on his custody in an establishment is then dispatched in four or five minutes and the request is almost always granted by the court.

The solution to the real problem raised by Ms. Landry does not lie in preventive deprivations of liberty or relief that would allow even more frequent recourse to institutional confinement. It seems to us to go much more through the continued development of psychosocial and alternative resources that take into account the whole of the person’s life rather than just their diagnosis and that use tools other than pharmaceutical medication alone.

These resources exist, they have proven themselves. It remains to give them the means and the autonomy necessary for the full accomplishment of their mission.