“It’s not like you go to residential [treatment] and that’s it,” Rush says. “You go to residential to remove yourself from that environment — that’s the main value.” Going home and thinking everything will be perfect again is not the reality, he says, adding that there need to be follow-ups and counselling.
Although some residential treatment programs do follow up with clients once they return home, Rush says, there’s no official obligation for them to do so. “We invest literally tens of thousands of dollars in residential treatment, and then just kind of kick people to the curb and keep our fingers crossed,” Cavacuiti says. “That’s not an appropriate way to try and manage this illness.”
“Generally, the more remote the community — the more northern and so forth — the harder it will be to access treatment,” says David Marsh, a clinical-sciences professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. “Residential treatment from publicly funded agencies tends to have long waiting periods — sometimes weeks or months in length. And, particularly in rural parts of the province, people have to travel to get to a program that will accept them.”