Julia’s Mental Health Matters

Our beautiful daughter, Julia, has been struggling with mental health issues for some time. Her current diagnosis’ are Borderline Personality Disorder, depression and anxiety. In the last year Julia has been admitted to the hospital on numerous occasions due to suicide attempts.
After spending 70 days in CHEO’s mental health crisis unit (most of that time spent in isolation), our daughter was finally admitted into a secure mental health treatment centre where she spent another 120 days. We were hopefull. Although the treatment centre was able to keep Julia safe, they were unable to provide her with the help she needed. We now know our daughter has officially been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This diagnosis hadn’t been made prior to Julia’s admittance into secure treatment as doctor’s are hesitant to diagnosis BPD in individuals under the age of 18. Our daughter has since turned 18 years old.

Borderline Personality Disorder requires very specific treatment. To date, the only proven method to successfully treat BPD is through Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT). It didn’t take our family long to determine the horrific lack of services there are when it comes to DBT. We have been advised that our daughter requires an intense day treatment program and preferably a residential program where she can have access to mental health care around the clock while receiving therapy daily. My husband and I have spent hours upon hours and days upon days desperately searching to get our daughter help. We are either told that waiting lists have been shut down due to long lengths or for those offering DBT (only 1-2 sessions) per week, will not accept her due to active suicidal thoughts.

Our family is desperate to get our girl the mental health care that she desperately needs. In the last year our daughter has made multiple suicide attempts, we have made dozens upon dozens of trips to emergency to get self inflicted wounds stitched, as well as treatment for swallowed items (to inflict pain). she is unable to attend school, unable to work, unable to see friends, and on most days unable to even get out of bed. 

Our daughter is the sweetest, kindest, most caring person I know. She did not ask for this. She does not deserve this.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?  We have finally found a residential treatment centre that is able to provide our daughter with the around the clock care and DBT that she desperately requires. Unfortunately, the treatment is private and not covered by insurance. It is a 6 week intense DBT residential treatment program located at Homewood du Plateau in Montreal. The program also offers a 12 month follow-up after discharge. This program costs $45,000 plus an additional $5,000 as we are out of province. This brings our total to $50,000. 

It breaks mine and my husband’s heart that we are not financially in a position to pay for the cost of our daughter’s treatment. I have been on leave from work since June, 2017 to care for Julia, making finances extremely tight. My husband and I cry, we breakdown, we feel sick, we feel helpless. No parent should have to sit and watch their child suffer so horribly.

I truly wish that our mental health care system will improve for all effected. In the meantime, if you are able to contribute in any way so that our daughter can receive the proper mental health treatment, our family will be eternally grateful. We have been advised that if finances are available, we can place Julia in treatment as soon as mid March (2019)! Thank you so much for your help! Keep fighting and stay strong, Julia! You’ve got this!!


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Shannon Mullin-McDonald 
Ottawa, ON
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