EDITORIAL: Mental illness costs sizeable

It’s time to look at a broader spectrum of care in Victoria

The scaling back of mental patient facilities at Riverview in Vancouver and, to a certain degree, Eric Martin Pavilion in Victoria decades ago, offered hope for hundreds of people who were previously expected to live out their lives away from the public eye.

When we hear of cases where individuals battling mental illness are involved in serious attacks on others and even murder, we wonder, even if only for a few moments, whether such an experiment has proven successful.

The cases of the young Sooke man charged with murdering his mother, after numerous previous incidents of violence; and the Victoria man on trial for stabbing an innocent boy at a bus stop, after seeing in the boy’s face someone he believed was in a gang that was trying to kill him, are examples of people falling through the cracks.

We don’t advocate a return to the days of institutionalizing people with mental disabilities simply because they can’t function at a high enough level to live on their own.

But for people who demonstrate their inability to function safely in society in relation to others, there needs to be an alternative to being hospitalized or being locked up in prison. That option needs to be available early for families who can no longer care for the person, often due to the fact that the individual is an adult.

The long-term effects and costs, both financial and human, of removing the institutional option from our health-care system surely outweigh the cost of operating such facilities for those who need it.

Whether there will ever be the political will to change the system, to create a broader spectrum of care for those battling mental illness, remains to be seen.

We hope the province looks seriously at this option to give everyone a chance to live a healthier life.

Just Posted

Two to hospital after University of Victoria sailing mishap

Wind gusts capsize boat of recreational club sailors

Victoria’s deaf community advocates for different sign languages to be recognized on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Transport Canada announces funds for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Contaminants at Laurel Point Park will be removed starting at the end of September

Volunteers gather in Metchosin for B.C.’s 1st ever search and rescue joint training

Around 200 volunteers came out for the three-day training program

Moon Lantern festival to light up Gordon Head

Saturday night festival celebrates harvest moon, fall season

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read