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Family of West Island suicidal man claims he’s being penalized for speaking English

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WATCH: The family of a young suicidal West Island man claims he's being forced out of a French addiction treatment centre after they discovered that he was actively trying to transfer to an English facility. His mother speaks to Global News about her fears for his safety now that he has nowhere to go – Mar 28, 2018

After spending the last two weeks at Le Rucher, an addiction treatment centre near Quebec City, the family of a young West Island patient claims he’s being kicked out because he was actively seeking treatment elsewhere. This, just one month after he was hospitalized in a coma following a suicide attempt.

The 24-year-old was transferred to the French facility Le Rucher on March 20 for intensive dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). The only equivalent English facility is in Ontario, where he was told services aren’t covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ).

Despite actively participating in group therapy sessions in French, Nick Gravel’s family told Global News that he was asked to leave on Tuesday when a social worker discovered that he was trying to transfer to an English facility.

“I received a call from Nicholas this morning from Le Rucher in Quebec City and he was advised he needs to leave that facility,” Gravel’s mother Sherry Brunet said. “They said because he is seeking care elsewhere that he was no longer eligible to stay at Le Rucher while he wanted to get into another facility.”

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Brunet is outraged and claims her son is now left with nowhere to go. Despite contacting three crisis centres in Montreal including the West Island Crisis Center, the family was told there was no room for him.

“I’m worried about the potential of what could happen while he’s home without any sort of treatment, any sort of aftercare,” Brunet said. “If something happens to him, I don’t want to think about that, but is anybody listening, does anybody care?”

The director general of Le Rucher refused to discuss Gravel’s case citing confidentiality reasons, but told Global News that patients are never forced out and that people who leave the program do so on a voluntary basis.

Gravel’s mother feels her son is being penalized because he’s English-speaking. She claims he was reprimanded on several occasions for speaking English in the French facility.

Gravel’s family has raised over $5,000 in order to cover the costs of sending him to Homewood Health, a private facility in Ontario that offers similar therapy to what he was receiving in French.

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s office is aware of Gravel’s case. “We are in the process of resolving the situation and we will follow up with the family,” Barrette’s press attachée Catherine W. Audet wrote to Global News.

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