Vancouver Mayor, Police Chief Highlight Mental Health Problems in City

Vancouver’s Mayor, Gregor Robertson, and Police Chief, Jim Chu, mentioned in a joint statement issued today that mental health problems in the city have accumulated to crisis proportions, highlighting that at least 96 serious incidents took place this year alone. It was explained that the problem has grown as intense as the HIV/AID problem which took over Metro Vancouver in the early 2000’s. Chief Chu alleged that the situation has become so severe that the police department has to nearly double the number of officers on its mental health team. Robertson stated that “today, the Chief and I are issuing a public call around a situation that has reached a crisis point in Vancouver.” He added that “it’s one that we have grappled with for a number of years, but it has escalated to the point that we need to go public and state clearly that, today, Vancouver is embroiled in a public health crisis due to untreated, severe mental illness.” The two prominent and key figures have raised their voice and demanded the provincial government to take up their five-point recommendations that includes funding 300 mental health beds, establishing a special reaction team in Vancouver Coastal Health’s region and opening a special department dedicated to treating people with severe mental health issues. A combined letter was penned by the mayor, chief and head of the health authority to Premier Christy Clark and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton last month highlighting their concerns over the issue, but they claimed it did not received a response.

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