Editorial: Mental services need a major overhaul
The Province, July 29, 2010.
How does our health system do when it comes to treating people with serious psychiatric illnesses? Very poorly, according to Vancouver forensic social worker Tracey Young, who says B.C.'s mental-health services are chronically underfunded and understaffed.
Young said time and time she's heard from family members who were heartbroken as they watched the deteriorating mental health of their loved ones - and powerless as they found hospital and other doors slammed in their face.
Young cited the tragic case of Kimberly Ruth Noyes, of Grand Forks, who was charged with second-degree murder in the 2009 slaying of 12-year-old neighbour John David Fulton.
In court last Friday, she was found not criminally responsible, due to a mental disorder.
Noyes' sisters had testified in court that for years they'd tried to have Kimberly committed.
And the Fulton family said Tuesday it was clear she was a danger to children: "Yet she was released back into the community over and over again."
Health services spokesman Karl Hardt said services in the region were well-resourced, but officials were very limited in what they could force a person to take advantage of.
"This was an extremely rare case," he noted.
Our view, though, is this is simply an extreme example of what is all too common in B.C., namely a lack of proper treatment for those with serious mental illnesses and a lack of support for their distraught families.