Chilliwack RCMP officers arrest a suspect. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. police must be better integrated into mental health system: death review panel

Police are already a ‘de facto’ part of the system, coroner finds

Police in B.C. need more training on how to handle mental health issues, a panel examining people who died after dealing with the cops has found.

In a report released Tuesday, the BC Coroners Service found that “police are a de facto part of the mental health system and that the role of policing should be incorporated into the provincial mental health strategy.”

The panel looked at 127 deaths between 2013 and 2017 that happened within or during the 24 hours after they had police contact.

On average, 25 people died each year and the vast majority – 85 per cent – were male.

The panel found 70 per cent of those involved mental health issues and that half of the 127 people who died were “exhibiting mental health symptoms” during police contact.

More than half of the 127 people struggled with illicit drugs.

The panel recommended the province incorporate police forces into its mental health and addictions strategy.

It said that access to emergency mental health assessment needed to be improved in rural areas, and that people released from police holding needed better information on mental health and crisis resources in their region.

The third recommendation asked the province to develop a B.C. Provincial Policing Standard that would examine and monitor use of force and make sure police officer training was sensitive to mental health issues.

READ ALSO: People with mental illness twice as likely to be victims of violence: study

READ ALSO: 350 B.C. first responders to gather and talk about their mental health


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WATCH: MBSS students march for climate action

Students conduct peaceful protest in conjunction with worldwide Fridays For Future movement

PHOTO: Goldsbury opens Liberal campaign office in Cranbrook

Robin Goldsbury, the Liberal Party candidate for Kootenay-Columbia, opened her campaign office… Continue reading

PHOTO: Stetski opens NDP campaign office in Cranbrook

Kootenay-Columbia NDP candidate Wayne Stetski was joined by supporters while opening his… Continue reading

Student activists, City talk climate change

Kevin Marshall, Energy Manager with the City of Cranbrook, met organizers of… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read