Vancouver police officers are required to devote a huge amount of resources to mental health issues because “a lack of capacity in the mental health system is failing Vancouver’s mentally ill and draining police resources”. That’s the stunning conclusion of a powerful new report from the Vancouver Police Department called Lost in Transition .
According to the report, more than one-third of all calls to Vancouver police involve people with mental health issues. The failure of capacity throughout the mental health system – from crisis response to supportive housing to services, along with failures in basic information-sharing – are causing a massive personal cost. The Vancouver study documents the ravages of increased illness and suicide for the people suffering mental health concerns. And there are heavy costs for the police service.
The report makes several key recommendations:
– a new mental healthcare facility for moderate to long-term stays;
– an urgent response centre for crisis intervention;
– increased services for people who are dually diagnosed;
– more supportive housing;
– speeding up the admission process at local hospitals; and,
– a system to share information among mental health service providers.