Vancouver urges government to act on untreated mental illness -

Vancouver urges government to act on untreated mental illness

Too many violent incidents involve mental health, police say


Nathan Hayward / CP

A man is walking his dog on a Vancouver evening when a stranger with a knife guts him so severely his internal organs are exposed. A mother and five-year-old daughter are out for a stroll when a mentally ill woman grabs the child, swings her around by her hair and slams her face-first onto the sidewalk. Two people leaving a comedy club are fired on by a deranged man. One is grazed in the head by a bullet before the shooter turns the gun on himself and dies in the street. These random attacks were cited last week by Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu as he and Mayor Gregor Robertson urged senior governments to address the growing crisis of untreated mental illness.

“These people require health care, support and medical treatment, not the criminal justice system,” says Chu. Mental illness is now a factor in 21 per cent of all police incidents; there’s been a fivefold increase in police apprehensions under the Mental Health Act since 2002, and the downtown emergency room of St. Paul’s Hospital has seen a 43 per cent increase in persons with severe mental illness and/or serious addiction.

Both men pin some of the blame on provincial downsizing since the 1980s of the Riverview Psychiatric Hospital, which treated and housed 4,600 people at its peak in the 1950s. While Riverview was often condemned as a warehouse for the mentally ill, the alternative has turned many vulnerable people onto the chaotic streets of the Downtown Eastside, with limited treatment and an open-air drug market.

Chu and Roberston want 300 secure mental health treatment beds, a hospital crisis centre and better treatment options at provincial housing facilities. B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake says the problem needs more study.


Vancouver urges government to act on untreated mental illness

  1. Yes, society made a dreadful mistake years ago by putting all those people out on the street.

    Society meant well, but many people simply can’t cope with life, and while 99% of them are harmless….we now have a whole class of society that lives rough on our streets….which is both inhumane and disgraceful.

    No we don’t want people warehoused, nor do we want political prisoners or non-conformists stifled….but this is no solution either.

    • The solution would be ”a dark knight”… and I’m not thinking of Batman. We have to face reality: if you can’t leave them out on the streets but do anyway as well as not want them either in jails or monitored with the proper psycological assistance you have to, as a city, stop lying to yourself and get to the one humane solution: send those who have taken the lives of innocents but ”can’t be criminally held responsible or internallized” 6 feet underground. End of case.

      The problem as of why those occur can and still has to be investigated, but at least we are cutting off on that which is a direct threat to innocent lives and on the financial burden those ”lost souls” would be. Too bad we can’t do ”proper prevention” but what can you do about that, we aren’t a ”fascist” state (which is what I’m sure the first thing that could come to one’s mind for such drastic mesure): we aren’t gonna kill people who commit no crime.

      Sadly, those who take the lives of innocents the way they do are still not considered criminals for having been flagged as ”mentally ill”. So in the end, they are being let free to oppress and suppress us, as we – with our kind and humane hearts – let ourselves be bled by them with our distinguished desire to shine through inaction rather than have blood on our hands. We’d rather see the blood of innocent victims flow by the hands of a lost soul than have a lost soul’s blood on our hands. Pathetic.

      • Well, that’s certainly christian of you.

        • I’d go with humanitarian. You know, one that goes around the lines of ”kill one save a thousand”.

          Funny though how some claim to be humanitarians but go on about how we should ”do all that is possible to prevent do the killing ourselves, even if that comes at the cost of lives that will be taken by those we shan’t kill”. I’m all for preservation of ALL lives, but if that comes at the cost of self-preservation or, mathematically, more valueble lives than those few we are trying to save (as compared to the lives of potential innocent victims they’d make, they fall in a category of ”beyond the point of no return”, as damaged individuals)… we should thoroughly review our standards of morality.

          • What is all this killing nonsense? There is no morality whatever in that

            This isn’t the Dark Ages

            Treat people with mental illness in the same way that we treat people with physical illness.

          • Agreed on that last part.

            But when people go from the state of ”benign tumors” to ”malign tumors”, letting them stagnate in the system is bound to cause them to take away from the ”healthy and innocent living tissues/organs” surrounding them.

            Like with people with physical illness, they need to be treated, but like some ”physical ills”, some ”mental ills” should have legal euthanasia as the only remedy for that which is beyond repair.

            When you can’t treat a tumor and have to take it out, it might cost you an arm and a leg or a breast… but it is so the whole can live. As previously stated, we mustn’t lose focus in the important matter that is ”to identify that which causes such tumors/cancers” within society, but it doesn’t mean we much stay our hand at what treatments we are to impose for the drastic scenarios and cases that are brought upon us by the ”more violent” ”cancerogenous cells” of the bunch.

            Maybe preventive ablation of entire smaller masses would be advised, but then, put in the context of a sociaty rather than a human body, it would appear as ”too drastic” a method. Afterall, unlike cancer cells, who is to say that some of the ”not yet violent” ones aren’t to become ”good healthy cells” again?

          • Cheezus….have another coffee and tone down the melodrama.

            You think cave people stood around a tribal member who had a broken arm and said….what do you think we should do? I dunno, what do YOU think we should do? And maybe they decided to kill him because it seemed to difficult to figure it out?

            Well, if they’d done that….humans would have died out long ago because everybody gets sick or injured at some point.

            So enough with throwing your hands in the air eh?

            Find a cure.

          • I’ll pass on the coffee, thanks. I’ll try to tone down on the melodrama, but I garantee nothing.

            I think maybe you may have skipped a part in that chunk of text of mine, or perhaps I am to blame for not having put enough emphasis on such part compared to the rest which involves, shall we say, ”less than orthodox” suggestions. It is how we are to NOT lose focus in trying to prevent people from becoming afflicted by such illness. If we can’t save them in their state of ”point of no return”, perhaps we can try to save those we can before they get there. Then perhaps we can push the limit that could be considered the ”event horizon” in mental illness, and save more from being the lost souls that they are becoming, taking lives left and right, ruining the lives of innocent people close to the victims.

            In many way, and I’m sorry if I drift a bit off-topic for a moment – and I judge this mostly from having checked some of your more insightful posts in the past month – you and I see eye to eye on many topics. Though for that one specific topic at hand, despite seeing how I could expect someone of your caliber to understand the importance of putting ”value” on the right human lives for the time being given the limited resources we have at the ready, I can’t blame you (or anyone else, really) for being unconfortable with the thought of ”taking a life as a solution”, no matter how temporary this solution is. But while I may not have found a cure, I’m not sitting idly either. While such suggestions of mine may not be orthodox, they are practical and achieveble; I’m contributing.

            Similarly, I’m not saying you are doing nothing but criticizing what has been done in the past without bringing anything constructive on the table. You did mention rather noble solutions which, I must ask quite frankly, can they apply to the ”present to short term” facettes of the problem? The idealist in me says: ”If we start working on it now, yes!” The realist in me says: ”I think not”. That’s the problem, short term solutions should be as important, but if we are willing to sacrifice the lives of innocents by the hands of those ”lost souls” just so we don’t end up killing people ourselves and hopefully one day, in a near or far future, finnally have the means to intern them and treat them adequatly, so be it. I guess it will be a ”choice society made”. But I would like you to assess how the entire ”situation” can be perceived from the victims (or relatives of victims, when the victims ended up DYING) of those aggressions.

            Can the many ”unphased and pure” in the masses have the right to have a democratic voice into a matter that never afflicted them? If anything, those who should have a right to say anything about means to treat those ”lost souls” should be those dealing or having dealth with them on either a regular basis or from having been a victim of them, or known victims, for in a way, no one else has the right to say they can have an adequate vision of the problem… well… unless they can open their eyes to reports and educate themselves on the matter, but since when do we have to be educated – let alone intelligent – to vote? That’s not how democracy works, sadly. And if you should know, I deal with them on a regular basis and would have unpleasant stories to share if I wasn’t bound to keep my mouth shut by my professional oaths.

          • I am not a believer in the ‘the good of the many outweighs the good of the one.’

            It depends on who is the ‘one’ and who is the ‘many’

            Einstein …vs a passel of Taliban? The one.

            Pat Robertson….vs Doctors without Borders? The many.

            There is no hard and fast rule. It depends on time and circumstance.

            There are people who should be taken care of simply because they are human….whether they ever contribute anything or not. They are damaged in some way and just need to be looked after.

            There are people who must be locked up for life [in previous times, executed] because they are a danger to everyone around them. They cannot be allowed out in society.

            But more than anything we need research and ‘cures’….so that everyone is on a level playing field, socially.

            Many people are quite acceptable in society….they vote, they have TV shows, they write, they lead….and yet they are not well. Their minds may be violent snake pits. But it’s a hard thing to deal with…because we don’t want to lock up brilliant people, or people who think differently or in new ways….just because we don’t understand them.

            There is an apocryphal story about Marconi….that his friends had him ‘put away’ in a mental institution because he heard voices…..and yet what he had done was invent radio.

            We need to start with definitions….what is average….what is genius….what is autistic….what is savant….what is retarded….what is mentally ill….and move on from there.

          • Women violently attacking innocent child… vs said child? The child.

            You can bet I know (and I bet you know) the value of that woman, and it’s much less than the child. And, as I’d say like you, if there was a thousand such women for the life of ONE of those child, it would still not be worth it to sacrifice the child ”to save those women, those lost souls” if we bring it down to basic maths in a brutally blind way to calculate morality. For after all, of course the value of one’s life is dependant on actions, intent, and consequences. So if someone isn’t ”responsible” for the consequences? Gotta look at the other variables there other than intent! Let see what we have, for actions those would be pretty bad: attacking a child. And consequences? Not anywhere good either.

            So she can’t be criminally held responsible for her act? Doesn’t mean she can’t be purged. It’s simply not going for having commited a crime, it will have been for having caused harm. So it isn’t a sentence she would be getting… just a ”consequence” of her being what she was. And that ”consequence”, it would be impossed on her for the greater good of the innocents. So hey, we could still be ”death penalty free” as a country, since penalties are only given to criminals… and she wasn’t seen as one for she was deemed a nutjob! Funny how things can work out in the end, we’re just refusing ourselves that good.

            The caveman analogy of yours was a good thing to bring in the discussion, it didn’t occur to me to use it but thanks for bringing the opportunity.

            Caveman wouldn’t have gone for a mercy kill though: the caveman would have, for the sake of the group, left the man with a broken arm to himself and let nature have him. Not too ”humane” but we probably didn’t know better back then. But we knew one thing: we were not going, as a group, to go at the pace of the broken man for he will be the end of the group. In a way, you could say that, as inhumane as it was, it’s still fairing better than we are with the crazy and drugged up people right now. And all those groups that ”didn’t try leaving him behind” well, they probably weren’t remembered as they probably suffered to exctinction from that which could be described as ”misplaced empathy”. But I’m just being cynic here, I have nothing to back THOSE claims.

            Now we are more civilized… but have appeared to have rationalized away from the concept of ”killing as a humane solution”. I’ve spoke of that before. Here’s one thing we, as non-cavepeople, we could do: take that mad women who, say, would have assaulted/killed a child out of misery which, in turn, will prevent her from delivery any more misery in the process.

            We may not be cavemen, but if laws and ”inaction” are to put us in a state where, in front of mental illness, we are worse than cavemen in front of a broken arm. Let’s at least snap out of that state for the sake of all the innocent people out there. While extinctions may not threathen the whole of society to that ”threat”, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t take lives, as reports have shown. It’s just that there is so little that would be needed to be done for those ”avoidable deaths of innocent victims by the hands of lost souls”. That ”so little”, as said before, isn’t to be the final solution, just the temporary one before we can care for them.

            That ”so little” would be to prevent them from taking away lives with more value than theirs… by taking theirs.

          • I have no idea where you’re going with this….but no, we don’t kill people who are mentally ill.

          • Personally I don’t think you know where anything is going.

            But aside from that when you say “we” in this comment and context you’re obviously referring to you and your terrorist sympathizer group.

            And for once something you say makes sense because it falls naturally that you wouldn’t want be out hand-grenading yourselves.

    • So basically you are agreeing with Ann Coulter – because she has said the exact some thing – but then you probably didn’t bother to read her article – you might have been exposed to a more rational line of thought.

      • Coulter is mentally ill herself….and you are as well for letting her get rich at your expense.

        Perhaps you’re not aware of the many things she’s promoted….like taking away the vote for women.

        • Actually I am – and as a woman I tend to agree with her about allowing women to vote. Women have been given huge opportunities in both of our countries to succeed and yet they continue to portray themselves as victims. The number of my female friends and colleagues who are so ill-informed about any issue leads me to support taking away the vote from women.

          But what you fail to understand about writers such as Coulter, Steyn, Black etc is that their writing is intended to promote such discussions – otherwise we get the bland, paplum that is generated by the progressive left – all unicorns and fairy farts rather than deal with issues of substance. But then that elevated Obama to the highest office in their country!

          And the response of the progressive left around mental illness and gun control shows that – rather than deal with the hard reality that mass murders are primarily individuals with untreated mental illness, their solution is some wimpy community love in program for the mentally ill and taking away the guns of law abiding citizens.

          • Well since you’re a woman, and you don’t believe women should have the vote, then I expect you won’t be voting in the next election.

            Which means you have no say in anything, and your opinions don’t count.

            Thank you. Goodbye.

          • Actually I have voted in EVERY civic, provincial and federal election – since I turned 18. The point is that you need to be informed to vote and many women are uninformed and unfortunately have no interest in becoming informed. Women can vote any way that they want, but NOT because Justin is just such a dreamy guy!!!

          • Oh you meant that no one else should vote….just you!

            Well why didn’t you SAY so?

            I’m glad that you know why other women vote though….not being as informed as you and all….I guess we should go with the Jim Crow laws they’re bringing back in the US eh? Keep the uninformed voters away.

          • EmilyOne – you have lost the plot completely! You choose to not read anything that might counter your firmly held beliefs (so it appears that everyone must agree with you); you don’t bring forward any actual facts to counter arguments that you don’t like; accuse people who don’t agree you as being insane. Gee, you may not think you are a liberal, but every indication suggests that you are – at a minimum you argue like one!

          • I refuse to listen to anyone who thinks women shouldn’t have the vote….or that thinks women would vote for a leader based on looks.

            And politically I am socially progressive and fiscally conservative….like most Canadians.

          • according to your rules, men should not be allowed to vote either, then, since most of them don’t know what they are voting for either. most men just vote the same way each election. why do you think municipal elections have such bad turnout? its not because there isn’t any info on the people running for office.

          • You are absolutely right – voting has been tossed aside as a serious civil obligation. I’m all for if you don’t vote in a specific number of elections, you lose the right to vote. Or we ask people to pass a basic exam on government functions!!

  2. “It needs more study.” No. What is needed is immediate action. What is needed are more acute psychiatric beds and substantially more inpatient and community mental health programming plus long-term supportive housing and community treatment orders if they want to turn things around. The time for study is definitely over.

    • Thank you. Yes, the time for study is over, it’s time for action and frankly there are enough good minds among us who have presented intelligent solutions but wait, might we have to spend money? Might we actually have to focus for five minutes on the topic at hand instead of veering off into tangential conversations that ultimately get us nowhere? Yes, to all of the above. Canada foolishly followed the United States’ lead in the mass closings of mental hospitals. Now that we see what we’ve reaped from that action (a rise in violence, homelessness, victimization of the mentally ill and so on), isn’t it time to admit we’ve created a monster? Come on, Canada, you foolishly followed the US down the wrong road. Now it’s time to lead the way back. — Janice Holly Booth, “A Voice out of Nowhere: Inside the Mind of a Mass Murderer.” Amazon #1 best-seller in schizophrenia

  3. The recent mass killing in the US is another situation where those individuals who are mentally ill are causing harm to everyone. This article sums it up well

    But given that Ann Coulter wrote it the hatemongers will be out in full force without even reading it.

    • Ann Coulter is another one of those people that makes big money by being outrageous/crazy/contrary. She’s done quite enough damage.

      • Yeah, it must be tough eh?
        There’s Ann Coulter making big bucks being outrageous and there’s you plugging away for the Liberal Party for a lousy 2 bucks an hour.

        • Well except that I’m not a Liberal, and that I work at a business online….popping in here on breaks….

          The only party shills on here are Cons, mate….and they work for free. Interns.

      • But as a typical Liberal you don’t actually provide any actual counter to the facts in her column!! So as I predicted the hatemongers are out in full force – doesn’t change the facts that by far the majority of mass murderers are people with serious mental illness that has not been addressed in large part because no one is willing to accept that fact that a mentally ill person is not in the best position to judge what will work for them. No one (not even Ann is suggesting that we return to locking people up and throwing away the keys)

        • I’m not a Liberal, but I don’t read Coulter. She’s a loon, and getting rich off people like you.

          Yes, mental illness is a problem. We’ve always known that.

          Perhaps we’d better looking into curing illnesses of the mind hmmm?

          In the meantime we need to get people off the street and properly cared for.

          • Which is exactly her position – which of course if you read her you would know that. Yes she puts it in the context of gun control (because there is some fantasy that adding more rules to obtaining guns will prevent such mass murders by the mentally ill and because she is writing of an American audience that actually thinks their constitution should be followed) But her point is that violence like this is a direct result of the policies and practices of many on the liberal left that refuse to acknowledge that the mentally ill need treatment and that it is highly unlikely that the mentally ill will volunteer for such treatment.

            And community programs don’t cut it. Making the mentally ill victims and treating them as victims ensures that they don’t get the treatment that they need and they actually are harmed more – look at the truly homeless in this country (and not the ‘at-rick homeless that some many government programs fund) – there is a high incidence of mental illness and addictions because of the mental illness. The reality is that for some individuals they will need long term institutionalization.

          • No sane adult reads Ann Coulter.

          • Again you claim not to be a liberal (and that may be), but you continue to act like one – rather than counter any of Ann’s facts with facts that prove your position (whatever your position is), you pronounce that anyone who reads her columns to be insane.

          • if we can’t cure them, then at least force them to take their meds

          • Not much way to do that.

          • sure there is. tie it to their disability cheque

          • What disability cheque?

          • what? you really don’t think they are on some kind of government cheque because they can’t work?

          • Why can’t they work? You can hear voices and do a job.

            No Judy….they don’t get govt cheques. In fact we don’t know who most of them are.

            And even if we see street people that we assume are mentally ill….we have no way of knowing if they’re on medication….but no they don’t get govt cheques.

            Unless someone commits a crime or becomes violent…they don’t even come to the attention of the authorities.

          • keep on dreaming, sweetie. your doctors declare you bi-polar or schizophrenic, you are fast tracked to the top of the disability list

          • Oh do stop.

            Most people who are mentally ill never even see a doctor….and no they don’t get disability payments.

          • Are you seriously that ignorant? Oh, to be young and naive again. The ones who don’t get a diagnosis are few and far between.

          • In other words you haven’t the slightest interest in the mentally ill as such… most Canadians you’re just concerned that somebody, somewhere, might be getting a nickel more than you are.

          • yup, that’s it! I think those poor people don’t deserve to have enough money to live(that was sarcasm, by the way). Disability and welfare don’t pay enough to make anyone jealous, and I don’t need money, I just sold a 4 bedroom house. I have more than enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life. Have you ever met anybody who was schizophrenic and off their meds? Its not fun, for them or the people around them. Without the meds, they hear strange noises or have strange thoughts, with the meds, they just feel numb(which is why they don’t want to take them). My best friend is schizophrenic. The last time she went off her meds, because she was living in a fog, she thought it would be a good idea to rent out her 12 year old daughter for a case of cigarettes. and now that daughter, age 33, is as ill as her mother, her university education useless, because she can’t hold a job. I know more about mental illness than you’d imagine

          • We have mentally ill people living on our streets….no meds. We have mentally ill people living in our subdivisions.

            It’s a major problem in society.

          • Hey t00ts, it’s very nice to see that you and Emily have hooked up.
            You have a lot in common.

            It’s only just a while back that Emily too (as in also) sold a 4 bedroom house and left himself well set up. I think it was while Chief Spence of the FN Indians was starving herself over at the Chateau Laurier every day on Lobster Thermidor.

            And then of course there’s the small matter of mental health where you have common interest. Emily with 8,312 pieces of posted claptrap has a somewhat more urgent interest than you do.

            Anyway, I wish you both well. It’s so nice to see two hearts beating as one.

  4. yes, force treatment on these people! its the only way to make them productive members of society

    • How can anybody be productive members of society on drugs?. You don’t know what you’re talking about and i suspect you are mentally ill and on medication by the way you speak.

      • so, then you are supposed to be on meds but refuse to take them?? how can anybody be a a productive member of society when they are tring to kill those around them because they thik they are going to be murdered themselves. how many more kids have to be beat to death by mentally ill parents, how many more young adults have to be stabbed or shot because their roommates are ill? one more is too many. schizophrenic peopleoff their meds are dangerous, period .its because they are unpredictable.