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Boy in need to see psychiatrist

Family hopes for referral to children's hospital

Kirsten Murphy
Northern News Services

Kimmirut (May 07/01) - A nine-year-old boy with anti-social and suicidal tendencies will see a visiting psychiatrist in Iqaluit on May 10.

It's a small step forward for Kyle Jaffray, whose parents went public April 13 with their concerns about psychiatric care for children in Nunavut.

The boy was placed on Prozac for violent mood swings last month after years of depressive episodes. Medication is a stopgap measure said Kyle's mom, Jodi. She wants her oldest son seen by a child psychiatrist at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. That's the only way, she said, that Kyle will get proper treatment.

Visiting family doctors have tagged the boy's condition a garden variety of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and depression. Daily Ritalin doses manage his attention deficit disorder problems.

Kyle is scheduled to see psychiatrist Dr. Eric Hood, from Toronto's Clarke Institute, for two hours this week, but Jodi Jaffray isn't holding her breath.

"It was my understanding (Hood) did not work with children very much, so we'll see," said Jaffray.

Although Kyle's moods are improving, he remains unpredictable, Jaffray said.

Since their story was told in News/North, Jaffray said support has been favourable.

"There are a lot of people coming up to me with stories. Tons and tons of kids are out there with problems," she said.

Deputy health minister Andrew Johnston has told News/North in the past that he was unaware of a backlog of children needing mental health assessments.