Nérée St-Amand (co-investigator) : Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill marked the end of 150 years long period of psychiatric treatment predominantly in mental hospitals (asylums). This dramatic change in the nature of patient provision was prompted by a growing dissatisfaction with the capacity of the mental hospital for effective treatment, by a revolution in psychopharmacology and by changing state priorities. The project Le champ francophone de la désinstitutionalisation en santé mentale: enjeux sociohistoriques, normes et pratiques, 1920-1980, proposes an exploration of the lengthy process of deinstitutionalization in three francophone locations: eastern Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick. Marie-Claude Thifault (PI) and her team (André Cellard, Henri Dorvil, Nérée St-Amand) will examine an understudied aspect of Canadian health care policy and they will also expand an understanding of the ways that francophone communities dealt with mental illness and psychiatric survivors.
In New Brunswick, two opposite trends influenced the process of deinstitutionalization: while the Southern part of the province, mostly Anglophone, had its asylum in the early 19th century and was facing many contradictions and limitations of the institution, the Northern part of the province, prominently Francophone, was struggling to have a treatment center for its people. It finally happened more than one hundred years later (Centre hospitalier Restigouche, in Campbellton). This historical context reveals the diverse influence and priorities of the two solitudes. (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2010-2014).