Haunted by the suicide of her daughter: “The community stigmatizes the students”

News 9 February, 2018
  • Photos Annie T. Roussel and courtesy
    Mireille Root account on the presence of his other daughter Raphaëlle Loves. It is the joy of life from his mother since the suicide of Anne-Sophie (inset).

    Nicolas Lachance

    Friday, 9 February 2018 00:00

    Friday, 9 February 2018 00:00

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    The mother of a medical student from Quebec, who committed suicide launches a cry of the heart so that it stops “the thick culture of performance,” in universities as well as in the middle of the health.

    “This path has led her to demolish. It is vicious, ” said in interview to the Newspaper the mother proven Mireille Racine, in the framework of the week of suicide prevention.

    Two years and nine months have passed since the suicide of his daughter, Anne-Sophie d’amours. Still upset, Mrs. Root trying to understand what was able to carry out his brilliant young girl to commit suicide.

    The coroner’s report made public this week, recommends that the faculty of medicine of Laval University make several changes to his training (see another text). “It is painful… reading the coroner’s report demonstrates how performance anxiety has led Anne-Sophia, to paralysis, to not trust his environment and how to smother it in the silence and suffering “, states, moved, Ms. Root.

    She looks back on the crisis currently in health with the example of the nurses out of breath and family physicians who are stifled by the quota of patients.

    “The environment is sick. We need our leaders to have the heart to life “, lets it fall, adding that the middle “stigmatizes” students and doctors.

    Tipping Point

    Anne-Sophie has successfully completed her bachelor’s degree with honors. “I have received her diploma in the mail after his suicide “, said Mrs Root, offended by the gesture.

    It is during the internship that everything has deteriorated. In two of his first three assessments, she received a ” limit “, indicating that she had to get up to speed.

    His assessment also notes that she is “perfectionist” and ” careful “.Mrs. Root says that her daughter was “haunted” by the fear of being excluded from the program of medicine. “She loved to take his time and take care of the patients “, she told, claiming that she did not count her hours in order to complete more folders. She was off work at 5 in the morning and came home after 23 h.

    The supervisor should inform the program director so that he can reassure the student. However, the weeks passed and she had no new. “It was a psychosis because of it,” says Ms. Root.

    “His peers say that he is not well seen to take leave, to limit their hours of work. These are perceptions that are rooted. Competition and performance oblige “, said Mrs. Root. On one side, we told him that it was too slow and the other that it was doing too much and that she did not know its limits, says Ms. Root. She was plagued by anxiety “.

    “We have to reinvent humanly “

    Today, despite the collateral damage that the suicide of his daughter has caused (loss of employment, break-up, depression), Mireille Racine wishes to speak to by duty of memory for his daughter.

    “We need to reinvent ourselves as human beings. But above all, let’s talk about, as our society loses its wealth… it loses its human “. She now hopes that the University Laval implements promptly the recommendations of the coroner.

    The suicide in Quebec

    • 3 suicides per day
    • 70 attempts per day

    Sentinels for detecting people in distress

    The coroner Andrée Kronström encourages all health facilities to implement the network of watchmen through the training given by the Association québécoise de prévention du suicide (AQPS). In this regard, The Journal spoke with Lynda Poirier of the Centre for suicide prevention Quebec.

    What is a sentinel to prevent the suicide ?

    It is like the CPR training in the workplace, but to identify people who need help and who may be suicidal. It is accepted to receive the good information on suicide. It provides the tools for people to be more comfortable addressing the issue with someone who appears suicidal.

    Who are these people ?

    People in all walks of life. Some are displayed, they are known. The working environment will also encourage people to show up. As for the CPR, many of which can be sentinels. They do not become stakeholders. They actually become a transmission belt to the AQPS.

    Is it that the health network is more conducive to psychological distress and suicidal ideation ?

    We are in a society of performance, where everything goes very fast. We are in a society where the health and social services are in disarray, so yes, it is stressful and the people in the network say. It becomes an aggravating factor for many people. But suicide, this is not a single factor.

    Is it that universities are equipped to cope with this distress ?

    With the requirements, the quota system and the training courses, is that the support is still adequate ? By the time, but not all the time. Some are more resilient than others and will pass more easily through the requirements of studies in health, while others might need more support.

    An ” appearance of a systemic problem “

    Following the suicide of a young student of medicine, the Office of the chief coroner recommends that the University of Laval to review the policies of the assessment of the practicum in order to mitigate the sources of anxiety, competition and exclusion.

    In a 12-page, well-documented, the coroner Andrée Kronström back on the last months of life of the young trainee 23-year-old took her own life in may 2015. As for the majority of suicides, there were many factors that led to the gesture of Anne-Sophie, explained to the coroner in an interview with the Newspaper.

    However, it focuses on the policies and tools of the Faculty of medicine to supervise its medical students. I Kronström says that there was an “appearance” of a systemic problem based on performance. However, its role is not to investigate this subject.

    Policies misunderstood

    It seems that the assessment policies are poorly understood, and that obtaining a “limit” is perceived as “catastrophic” and would adversely affect the obtaining of the specialty desired. I Kronström writes that the label “student in difficulty” stigmatise the external which would be hard to do choose.

    She pointed out that the external should not exceed 10 hours of work and university by day, for a limit of 55 hours per week. However, the coroner mentions that some students in the cohort Anne-Sophie met seemed to live in a climate of competition and have a high propensity to be compulsive “. Also, it would not be well seen to take leave and limited working hours.

    “The students and the teachers of course do not follow the policy, because they might ignore or do not feel obliged to respect it,” says Ms. Kronström.

    This investigation will be forwarded to the president of the University of Laval, to the ombudsman of the institution, but also to all faculties of medicine in Québec.

    Stay in psychiatry

    Finally, the commission emphasises in its report that the suicide of Anne-Sophie came two days after a stay in psychiatry, where she had been interned. But, then when the psychiatrist who cared for Anne-Sophie had to be absent, another psychiatrist decided to put an end to his stay. “This factor appears to me to be extremely worrying,” said the coroner.

    Moreover, the psychiatrist who gave him his leave has been the subject of a complaint to the College of physicians and he agreed to restrict his or her scope of practice and to be the subject of an evaluation.

    If you need help

    Line québécoise de prévention du suicide:

    • www.aqps.info
    • 1-866-CALL (277-3553)

    Youth, I listen to:

    • www.jeunessejecoute.ca
    • 1-800-668-6868