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

Final bell could sound for project that allows Victoria grads to dress in style

Magic Wand must find space to store its prom attire for Greater Victoria students by end of June

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

Pizza brightens Saanich public hearing

Acting mayor Coun. Colin Plant orders snacks during marathon session

Staff recommend major boost to Langford council pay

After 13 years without an increase, mayor’s pay would double over next five years

Victoria couple seeks community’s help after e-bike stolen for second time

Voltbike stolen from parking garage on Quadra Street

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

Sooke council urged to move faster on off-leash dog park plan

Resident questions why five of seven restricted parks are in Sooke

Driver of stolen vehicle caught after fleeing accident scene in Island community

Section of Chemainus Road closed until suspect located and eventually taken into custody

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Most Read