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PEI’s mental-health system in serious need of overhaul, director says

Prince Edward Island’s director of mental health says the province’s in-patient psychiatric facility is an antiquated facility that is not meeting required standards of care.

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Prince Edward Island's director of mental health says the province's in-patient psychiatric facility is an antiquated facility that is not meeting required standards of care.

Margaret Kennedy says Hillsborough Hospital is always full, as is the acute psychiatric unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

The Health PEI official says people with acute psychiatric conditions often end up staying in the emergency department for up to 10 days while waiting for a spot to open up at Hillsborough.

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Kennedy says the crowded conditions reflect a broader problem with the province's mental health system.

The problems at Hillsborough attracted media attention earlier this week when a judge said she had no choice but to sentence a man to jail to prevent him from returning to the bitter cold in the streets.

Reid Burke, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association in PEI, says the province needs a new strategy and more money to overhaul a system that is lacking across the province.

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