BIPOC USHR would like to issue a warning to our various BIPOC communities on PEI regarding mental health care on the Island. It has come to our attention that Hillsborough Hospital has called Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on racialized patients who are in need of using their facilities, but whose status is not current or is in transition in Canada and unable to pay for hospital services. As a result of the actions of Hillsborough Hospital CBSA has sought to deport said patients. At this point we are unsure how many patients have been affected, but BIPOC USHR is currently working to support and protect one particular patient who has been targeted by the hospital and who the CBSA would like to send to a country in which he has never lived and where he would be put in immense harm’s way.
In other words, said patients are being punished by Hillsborough Hospital for not only having serious mental health issues, but also for being poor or having limited financial resources.
CBSA is a colonial entity that disproportionately harms Black people and People of Colour. We had offered this information to staff in mental health care previously, but unfortunately it was unheeded.
Calling CBSA is a dangerous act of colonial violence. Calling CBSA without offering patients legal representation and protection is even more violent. We condemn such actions in the strongest terms.
At this time we would like to issue a warning to mainly to those who are on PEI on a temporary status – international students, work permit holders, and migrant workers – as well as those who are in-between statuses (those who may have applied for a new status but are waiting for a decision):
Please be VERY careful accessing mental health care on PEI.
Here are some ways you can help to keep yourself safer if you find you need to use the QEH or Hillsborough Hospital for mental health care.
– Have an advocate with you. This could be a friend, a family member, or a member of BIPOC USHR. – Record all your interactions with psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, etc. This includes dates and times, lengths of conversations (if possible), content of conversations. – Do NOT sign any paperwork you do not fully understand. If you feel you are unable to process the information in the form please ask for an advocate to support you. Again, this could be a friend, a family member, or a member of BIPOC USHR. Do not sign the form until you fully understand all consequences of signing the form. – If you believe you were mistreated in the system, please contact BIPOC USHR. We will try our best to help you navigate the system.
We hope that those in mental health care would have our best interests at heart, but it seems that for racialized people we once again face violence in those very spaces that are supposed to be safe.
Please stay safe out there, friends. We love you.