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

Controversial SD69 discussions continue regarding field trips requiring air travel

Some Qualicum district students believe motion takes away too much from experience at school

Pole-climbing thieves pilfering wire in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Repairs are costly and thefts jeopardize public safety

Library month celebrates Indigenous people, culture in Parksville

Vancouver Island Regional Library showcasing culture of many Nations during October

Green Party leader Elizabeth May talks eliminating fish farming in open ocean pens

May stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

Qualicum Beach council discusses helping out Orca Place residents

Town considers offer of temporary jobs in the future

VIDEO: First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read