To be turned away from a place he expected to find help has left a young man in a mental-health limbo.
Zach Peckford-Green says he wants to die.
The 20-year-old is originally from Corner Brook, but has moved around a lot in recent years. He’s been dealing with mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts, since he was 18.
He has tried to kill himself twice, has had counselling, been medicated and diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD from time spent as a sex worker. He has also been trying, to no avail, to get a more comprehensive assessment of his mental health.
Peckford-Green spent part of Tuesday outside Western Memorial Regional Hospital protesting his inability to get treatment at the hospital since first going there Dec. 27.
He had an appointment for 4 p.m. but that was pushed up to 3 p.m. He figures it was because of the media attention he had drawn.
All he wanted was to be admitted, but he left the appointment with mixed results. The hospital will admit him for a full evaluation Jan. 15.
Until then, he said the hospital has sent an actively suicidal person home.
“I want to die,” he said.
“I don’t think happiness and being suicidal have to be so opposite. I think you can still be super, super suicidal and still have a happy positive attitude.
“In my head, the way I view death, it’s not such a negative thing. You really don’t know what’s past it.”
Peckford-Green had been visiting his mother in Burgeo for Christmas. She noticed that things were not right with him and convinced him to travel to Corner Brook to go to the hospital.
They arrived Dec. 27 after driving through a snowstorm.
With a goal to being admitted, Peckford-Green told the triage nurse he was requesting physician-assisted suicide.
He wanted to die, but he also wanted help, to be treated for his mental health issues.
After seeing a few health professionals he said he was told hospitalization would make things worse for him, that he’d be agitated due to lack of patient care.
And so he was sent on his way to await his appointment.
Later frustration led to an altercation with his mother and a trip back to the hospital in a police car. He still wasn’t admitted and has been staying at hotel for the past week.
But he wasn’t willing to idly wait and decided to protest the lack of treatment.
“What do you have to do to get admitted?” he asked as he stood in the parking lot of the hospital along with his mother on Tuesday afternoon.
“I just don’t know what else there is possible for me to do to get the help I need. There's no other options.”
He said he wanted to bring awareness to what people in his position have to go through and how hard it is to get help. And that this sort of thing happens everyday.
No one from Western Health spoke with Peckford-Green while he was protesting outside the hospital.
No one from Western Health was made available for an interview.
In an emailed statement the health authority said it has a legislated mandate to respect the privacy of all of its patients, clients and residents and was unable to publicly discuss any specifics regarding the care of a patient, client or resident due to the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).
“Western Health takes all complaints seriously," the statement read. "Western Health is available to respond to any client, patient or their family members with respect to any concerns they have with their care. Our staff are always able to follow up with a client or family member on an individual basis about any specific concerns they may have.”
*** Typos corrected Jan. 2 ***