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

RDKS moves towards modernizing waste management

Survey conducted to help improve disposal of trash

Five murals to be painted in Terrace this summer

Artists paint together in celebration of the Skeena Salmon Art Festival

City purchases Terrace Bowling Lanes

The business will stay open for one last season

Terrace RCMP trying to reunite owners with stolen goods

Two men arrested in connection with thefts

Terrace Minor Softball closes season with wins

Teams with be competing in nationals in Saskatoon

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Most Read