The mother of a 13-year-old girl who killed herself in 2017 is about to get a four-month strike from a psychologist who failed to prevent her suicide. However, she had to file a private complaint against the professional, because the syndic of her order closed his investigation without pursuing her before the disciplinary council.
To obtain justice, the mother of the child hired a lawyer and paid $11,900 for a report on the behavior of psychologist Annie Moreau, of the CISSS des Laurentides.
The professional ended up pleading guilty on March 10 to charges of not having practiced her profession in the rules of the art. In particular, she failed to put in place a security plan to protect the young Lili Homier.
The parties have agreed to a four-month disbarment and a permanent ban from practicing with children under 14. The psychologist also agrees to reimburse the costs of the expertise incurred by her parents.
Everything suggests that the Disciplinary Committee will endorse the joint proposal of the parties.
In the document he produced for the family, the psycho-legal expert Frédéric Laterrière addresses a severe criticism to the trustee for his management of the case.
“Given the dynamic presented by this teenager when making contact with her parents, as a professional in the health network for nearly 30 years and a member of a professional order, I find it extremely worrying, disappointing and unfair that these serious breaches of standards of practice in psychology did not lead the trustee to file a complaint with the disciplinary council from the outset,” reads an excerpt from the report.
Fanie Charbonneau says she began in 2018 a “real obstacle course” to shed light on the work of the psychologist, by first requesting an investigation from the syndic of her order. But in May 2019, the organization concluded “a confidential agreement” with Annie Moreau. There would be no prosecution before the Disciplinary Board.
“We did not understand the reason for this confidential agreement and the role of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec,” says Fanie Charbonneau. She and her spouse only learned on March 10 that the trustee had imposed additional training on Annie Moreau and 16-hour supervision by another psychologist.
Lili’s parents requested a review of the file in 2019, without success. “All the doors were closed,” laments the mother.
In his report, the expert Laterrière nevertheless notes the inconsistency of the practice of Annie Moreau.
According to the expert Laterrière, “issues related to a risk of suicidal passage were minimized by the psychologist”.
Lili’s parents had asked for her to be placed under the responsibility of the Department of Youth Protection. Without success. According to the expert, such a measure could have helped the child to “get through his suicidal crisis”.
In the circumstances, how can it be explained that the syndic did not see fit to bring the case before the disciplinary council?
The president of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec (OPQ), Christine Groulx, first wishes to say that “her thoughts are with the family”.
However, she defends the decision of the watchdog of the profession. “I asked the trustee questions. The investigation is confidential, but I can tell you that here, the processes and rules of the art in the investigation were well respected. »
The parents’ lawyer, Claude Leduc, does not believe anything.
He also wonders if situations of this kind often occur. “It’s unclear how many cases like this have ended up in the same circumstances, with no disciplinary complaint filed,” he notes.
Her voice strangled with emotion in front of the council, Fanie Charbonneau paid tribute to her dead child, “extremely quick-witted, creative, original, sneering, passionate about reading, music and improvisation”. “She spoke with a rich and varied vocabulary. She had a phenomenal memory, amazing abstraction skills. »
From early childhood, however, Lili began to exhibit “cognitive rigidity, anxiety”, and over time, increasingly severe symptoms of depression from the age of 11. Then high school and bullying made it worse.
In 2016, her daughter began follow-up at the CLSC de Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, within a team comprising a social worker, a psychiatrist and psychologist Annie Moreau, met 39 times.
Her situation deteriorated at the start of Secondary 2, in September 2017. Lili asked to see her psychologist every week, but Annie Moreau felt that monthly meetings were enough.
At that time, the teenager expressed however suicidal thoughts. “My child told me she had a plan,” Fanie Charbonneau said. She then tried to alert Annie Moreau. “But she wasn’t returning our calls.” »
In November 2017, Lili took action by ending her life.
Met by La Presse at the end of the hearing, Annie Moreau expressed her regrets, as she had already done before the committee. “I really wish I had better accompanied this child,” she said. I am very sorry. Losing a child is one of the most serious things that can happen. »
If you need support, are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about someone close to you, call 1-866-CALL (1-866-277-3553). A suicide prevention worker is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.