Douglas Todd: Column triggers spate of stories about deteriorating mental-health care in B.C.
B.C.’s mental-health system has become, for strange reasons, out of control.
That’s the most common concern expressed in the huge response The Vancouver Sun received to an article about my father, who had schizophrenia, which concluded he would very likely not have survived B.C.’s current mental-health system.
A Second World War ambulance driver who had a psychotic breakdown when he was 27, Harold Todd spent almost two decades in the now-defunct Riverview Hospital before being transferred to a non-profit Vancouver boarding home offering basic support, where he lived a modest life for 25 years until he died in 1999.
A flood of anguish-filled comments and correspondence came in, flowing from family members of mentally ill people, psychiatric nurses, politicians and medical ethicists. Some offered support for a re-imagined Riverview and the benefits of boarding homes, most of which have been dismantled. Some were frustrated policy-makers seem held back by the fear of appearing “paternalistic.”
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