Mayor ‘shocked’ at recent review
Improving the dire situation of Vancouver’s mentally ill must begin with providing social services and support.
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That is the consensus among many after a damning report released by the Vancouver Police Department Friday that revealed that one-third to one-half of all police service calls involve the mentally ill.
Mayor Sam Sullivan said he was surprised by the findings.
"It’s a very powerful report and I was shocked by the amount of police resources allocated toward people with mental illnesses," he said.
He added that the province would soon be implementing a number of new initiatives.
For the past year or so, Sullivan has also been calling for the reopening of the Riverview mental health facility, or something comparable.
"Unless we can do that, we’re going to continue to see that revolving door of people with medical condition as going in and out of jails," he said.
David Granirer, founder of Stand Up for Mental Health, said the blame falls on a resource-deprived system that leaves administrators with few options.
"I don’t think it’s the fault of the people that work in the system," he said. "But the way the system is set up, it’s so under-resourced that it’s almost as though they’re looking for reasons to say, ‘No, we can’t do anything for this guy.’"
New Democrat Health Critic Adrian Dix said that providing specialized care is much-needed and long overdue.
"The only thing more expensive than providing all that is what we’re doing now," he said.