Being 'tolerant' will improve our prospects


Dr. A.G. Ahmed speaks to city council in this 2013 file photo.


So here is a part of my interview yesterday with Dr. A.G. Ahmed that didn't make it into our story about former Brockville Mental Health Centre patient Justine Winder.

Brockville, said Dr. Ahmed, should be proud of itself for its understanding response to the psych and its patients.

The head of forensics at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group says Brockville is “tolerant” of the psych, which allows the institution to do good work.

Brockville should be proud of itself, about what we've done nationally,” said Ahmed.

The relationship between city residents and “The Psych” is not always rosy, of course. Friction, however, tends to happen in specific cases that generate specific moments of anxiety.

I am not sure the question of whether Brockvillians fundamentally accept the facility's rehabilitative principle, and their own role in that rehabilitation, has ever been asked or answered definitively.

But the fact remains they are a part of that process.

The city's bottom-line acceptance of the institution has perhaps been driven by, well, the bottom line. Brockville desperately needs jobs of the calibre of those remaining at the facility.

The result is The Psych is a part of Brockville: its economy and its identity.

Since that's the case, it's best to recognize that, in Dr. Ahmed's assessment, the facility's work resonates “nationally” -- and will continue to do so if the BMHC can build on a pilot project to provide secure treatment for mentally ill female offenders here.

The BMHC will get two new beds as part of the pilot project, a partnership between the Correctional Service of Canada and the local institution.

However, two beds are not enough. In order to build a program that is innovative, noted Ahmed, the facility needs a critical mass of inmates and professionals overseeing them, said Ahmed.

That, as we know, is something local politicians continue to advocate.

In the meantime, if we remain “tolerant” of The Psych, it may help them reach that goal.