Three new psychiatrists recruited to P.E.I.

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Richard Wedge, left, Health P.E.I., Minister Doug Currie, and Dr. Rhonda Matters, clinical psychologist, presented the review of mental health and additions services and supports in Prince Edward Island at the Murchison Centre in November, 2013.

Three psychiatrists have been recruited to the province – a measure the province hopes will help improve access to mental health services for Islanders.

In a news release announcing the new recruits this morning, Health Minister Doug Currie pointed to the recent mental health and addictions review completed by MRSB, which identified significant concerns regarding access to psychiatric assessments and psycho-therapy.

“Although we know access isn’t just about increasing the complement of professionals working in the system, the addition of these three new psychiatrists will provide more assistance to Islanders as government continues its work on a comprehensive, long-term strategy for mental health and addictions.”

Two of the new psychiatrists - Dr. Christine Beck and Dr. Abayomi Otusajo - began work in the province in September.

Beck completed her medical degree in Sherbrooke, Quebec and just finished her residency training program at the University of Ottawa where she was chief psychiatry resident in 2012.

Otusajo will be relocating from Berkshire in the United Kingdom. He completed his medical education in Nigeria and received his psychiatry specialist training in the UK and has been working in the field for nine years.

Dr. Akinole Fanafosi completed his medical training in Nigeria and his specialty training in Ireland where he has been working for the past eight years.

He will begin practising in P.E.I. in early January.

“Mental health is an integral component of an individual’s overall health. We also know that one in five Islanders will experience mental health issues during their lifetime,” Currie said.

“We know we need to transform the way mental health services are delivered in our province. That’s why Dr. Rhonda Matters, the province’s first Chief Mental Health and Addictions Officer, will provide a strategy to help us address gaps in the delivery of mental health and addictions services.”


Organizations: Islanders, University of Ottawa

Geographic location: P.E.I., United Kingdom, Nigeria Sherbrooke Quebec Ireland

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Recent comments

  • Dazed and Confused Again . . .
    December 14, 2013 - 08:33

    With respect, I mention this only because Dr. Rhonda Matters - and her role - is mentioned in the article. Hypothetically, if the addicted, and other types of drug abusers, were given their drugs would the majority of them (us?) still commit crimes? This is not to suggest that drug abuse is healthy - that would be absurd. However, why we pathologize the individual over the social conditions governing "right and wrong" is a question worthy of debate. Isn't it?

  • Dr welcome wagon
    December 13, 2013 - 23:39

    Sounds like a group with a lot of diverse experience and tons of promise! Welcome to the Island for both you and your families. I think it was brilliant recruitment job for Health PEI!

  • James Smith
    December 13, 2013 - 20:25

    It is nice to find out that the the province has hired 3 head readers. My question is that I have reviewed the above noted Guardian article and have a MAJOR concern that two of the three Dr,s have recived their training out side North America. I was introduced to one of these doctors at a public funtion and I could not understand him at all. How are these two people going to discuss peoples issues , when you CAN NOT understand what they are saying because they do not speak English well???? How about Health PEI getting another Urologist as the province is working with only one DR AT THIS TIME. What about my kidneys stones . send me to Halifax quick

  • Brenda
    December 13, 2013 - 18:45

    I just read the last 5 comments and every comment is negative. When are people going to realize that always being negative about everything is depressing. Everyone on this Island would benefit if people would start to look for the good instead of the bad all the time. I am not saying that this would solve our mental health issues but it would certainly be better than listening to people complain all the time about everything. Put a smile on your face and even you will feel better.

    • Gloria MacKay
      December 17, 2013 - 12:43

      Brenda, I so agree with you. Many people are very negative about almost everything, including things we cannot control such as the weather. It becomes frustrating hearing their constant criticism and complaints. Life is good. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we are safe and have the right to express what we believe. But in the spirit of the season lighten up folks. Count your blessings.

  • You looking at me; are you looking at ME?
    December 13, 2013 - 17:44

    Along with most of our psychiatrists, if Doug Currie or Rhonda Matters lived within the conditions many Islanders are living, within a few years they too would exhibit pathological behaviors. Really, it's a wonder more Islanders aren't deviating from our historically accepted norms. Or, are we? Is there already general slippage from those norms and it's just not being noticed - until it's too late? Like they say, “As the water hole dries up, the animals start to look at each other differently.”

  • Solved nothing
    December 13, 2013 - 15:09

    I agree with "before we get too deep " people with mental illness are all different levels . Lots are functional and can be productive . Thing is about PEI , there is a stigma regarding mental illness . Someone with situational depression , addictions , stress etc there is a stigma here that has to be approached . From employers and other areas . People with mental illness are all ready bested down here on adversity , judgemental ness and lack of resources , and plans that are effective , a working rehabitation . Not wait for a psychiatrist get a anti psychotic and sit at home no active treatment . There was a program on cbc that poverty and mental illness go hand in hand as well as addictions . Part of the drug problem here is not dealers , it's not drs , it is seniors and sick people selling medication to maybe get a meal , pay rent etc . Get our on the streets mr . Currie and find out what is going on with in the population of islanders . How many people statistically are on stress leave for mental health even from your own sector . Not hard to do the math . I think it may be more than one in five .

  • Before we go too deep . . .
    December 13, 2013 - 14:26

    In all seriousness, this is a complicated challenge. However, if you don't know where you're going to find your next menial job that you're bound to hate, you can't adequately feed or shelter yourself or your family, and too many of your friends are in a similar situation - drugs, alcohol and desperate decisions don't look like such a bad option. But, they do look like mental illness.

  • Sylvia
    December 13, 2013 - 11:28

    Thank You James Aylward! Your questions in the House prompted these announcements. Still voting NDP though! Going back to September and ahead a but until someone is supposed to start = 3 new ones. Creative math at best. 2 now + 1 maybe - those that quit = WHAT

  • So what
    December 13, 2013 - 11:26

    I don't know why minister currie has such a big smile . I have a story to tell . Thing is it seems you can only bring concerns when it is close to election time . If you have concern you may be punished for voicing freedom if speech etc and information to proof it probably destroyed . People have mental health issues due to standard of living and resources they can't access . Like food , jobs , place to live . Yeah three more psychiatrists that people most likely need the help will not acess . There are so many homeless and addictions they should employ a outreach intervention on the street a health mobile and a team of health worker trained people actually work within the street . To facilitate those who can't access don't even have a famy doctor to get a referral .

    • nitpicker
      December 13, 2013 - 16:51

      We're close to election time? Last I checked we were 2 years away.

  • don
    December 13, 2013 - 11:09

    Health P.E.I., Minister Doug Currie, why have we not seen you and your rich liberals plus the backroom boys donating a few hundred turkey plus other foods to the turkey drive in all there areas of PEI? i have never seen and of your names listed. are you all that cheap that you can TAKE from the poor but can not give back. when you all sit down to have you big fancy DINNER i hope God reminds you of the hungry. and the reason why i know you all have not is any time you all do something you need you picture in the paper or on cbc. all members of the house this is disgraceful not to give to the people that gives you a job and big pay.

    • huh
      December 13, 2013 - 16:49

      You keep topping yourself for the most ludicrous posts on this forum. Are you that desperate to complain that, in a story about recruiting three mental health professionals, you post about whether or not someone donated to a turkey drive?? Because you have not seen publicity photos you somehow KNOW that no charitable donations were made to anything? Yet, if there were a photo op where a donation was highlighted, I have ZERO doubt you would be one of the first to complain that the donation was made solely for the publicity. Quite bizarre.

    • generous Islander
      December 13, 2013 - 18:47

      Just because you do not see certain names does not mean that they do not give. Does everyone have to give to the turkey drive? I don't - but I do donate heavily elsewhere actually, to several different pots. The amazing thing is, everyone has FREE WILL to give to whomever and whatever cause they wish and all should be able to do so without small-minded judgment. Also, have you ever heard the term "anonymous?" You would be surprised who gives what.

    • don
      December 13, 2013 - 20:17

      generous Islander. are yo kidding me or are you that far out of it? a mla or leader if they do anything good they MUST always get there mug in the paper or on TV come on wake up or better still what planet are you on?