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

Graffiti clean up costs Victoria businesses roughly $1M a year

Business association teams up with city in campaign to reduce graffiti in downtown

Tour de Victoria: The downlow on detours in the region

Thousands of cyclists participating in ninth Tour de Victoria

Donations still needed to cover cost of Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground, opening Aug. 24

Local fundraisers have collected $150,000 of the required $250,000 in costs

WATCH: Marine security company posts live seal cam at Oak Bay Marina

Seals tend to loiter near the fish-cleaning table

UPDATED: Two-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Passengers destined for Tsawwassen without a reservation should allow for extra time at terminal

WATCH: Family dog missing after fire tears through Metchosin home

Firefighters continue to monitor for hot spots

Victoria Shamrocks open WLA finals at Q Centre in Colwood

Team is evenly matched in championship series against Maple Ridge Burrards

‘Easy Rider’ star Peter Fonda dies at 79

Actor and writer was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the 1969 psychedelic road trip movie

Excavators help cute kid who copied their dig with his toys stay “safe at work”

Carson Carnegie wakes up at 7:00 am every morning to watch construction work on his street

Bob Lenarduzzi out as Vancouver Whitecaps president

MLS team is at the bottom of the Western Conference standings

B.C. daycare operator denies negligence in death of ‘Baby Mac’

Infant died in early 2017 after biting an electrical cord, according to a lawsuit filed by his mom

BC SPCA reopens animal cruelty investigation at Abbotsford pig farm

Additional alleged footage released from Excelsior Hog Farm sparks new investigation

RCMP on Vancouver Island seek information on alleged ‘breaking out’ bandit

Man alleged to have hid in Nanaimo business washroom ceiling overnight, took monitors

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 13

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

Most Read