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CAMH launches external review following Cong disappearance

Last Updated Jul 24, 2019 at 11:19 pm EDT

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is launching an external review of its process when it comes to passes and privileges for patients.

The review comes in the wake of Zhebin Cong’s disappearance after the 47-year-old was allowed to leave the country while on a day pass from CAMH.

Cong, who has a violent past, was found not criminally responsible for the gruesome death of his roommate in 2014 due to mental illness.

CAMH has faced enormous criticism following Cong’s disappearance, specifically how someone with a background like Cong can just leave.

“During recovery, over several months and years, there is an increasing ability for individuals to leave the environment, first accompanied and then with greater levels of freedom. Cong was on that process,” said CAMH President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn who could not provide any additional information on how Cong was able to leave the country.

“People with mental illness, including severe and complex mental illness, do improve. Our job is two-fold: to protect community and safety but also to help individuals recover from their mental illness.”

Cong was reported missing from CAMH on July 3. Toronto police said they searched for almost two weeks for him before learning he had fled the country the same day that he went missing.

When asked if there is a “gap” between CAMH and Toronto police, Zahn said they have “excellent relationships with the police and excellent communications.”

Zahn says they hope to complete the review by years end.

The CAMH review is one of several that have been launched following Cong’s disappearance including by Toronto police and the Ontario solicitor general’s office.