Two years ago, Crystal Stenersons learned first hand how difficult a place Royal University Hospital can be for those dealing with a mental health crisis.
She came into the emergency room feeling suicidal after suffering a breakdown at work.
On Tuesday, she told Saskatchewan Afternoon host David Kirton that she ended up waiting 24 hours without seeing a doctor.
“I had nobody there. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to leave, I was frustrated,” she said.
Stenersons’ case isn’t unique, according to psychiatrist Dr. Tamara Hinz. HInz spoke out earlier this week on the decision to delay a 7-bed mental health area in the RUH emergency room.
Money, including a $1 million donation from the Dubé family, is available to build the new unit. However, the project was put on hold indefinitely over a lack of a budget for staff.
Stenersons said that decision could mean people like her choose not to seek care.
Although she now sees a psychiatrist to manage her depression, she said she dreads the thought of having to go back to RUH if she ever suffers another crisis.
“When (my doctor’s) not around, that’s all they can say is: ‘if anything happens, go to emergency,’ and the thought of it now is just awful. Unless there was something better in place,” she said.
Stenersons said having a quieter, private area for mental health patients to wait in the emergency room could help keep people from leaving before they get help
“I believe with something like that, it’s a step in the right direction,” she said.