The B.C. Mental Health Act Protects My Daughter

The author of the original article, Susan Inman, wrote this piece for the Huffington Post from personal experience. Susan’s daughter has suffered from schizophrenia for the past 16 years, and Susan has seen first hand how involuntary hospitalization and medication have helped her daughter have years of stability.

Susan discusses how provisions in B.C’s Mental Health Act which protect people with severe mental illnesses are currently under attack. This came when a challenge was filed with B.C’s Supreme Court which states both inpatient and outpatient involuntary treatment are violations of people’s human rights. The challenge does not deal with involuntary hospitalisations, rather it proposes changes that would mean people can avoid involuntary treatment no matter how ill they are. Two of the plaintiffs themselves have received involuntary treatment.

Some may feel that the most morally responsible position is to allow people to choose whether they want to be treated, but Susan highlights how this ignores some vital information about psychotic orders. In psychosis, a person loses the ability to differentiate between what is real and what isn’t. Even as some of its symptoms begin to subside, people can be left with anosognosia, a brain-based inability to understand that they are or have been ill.

As Susan argues, mental illness policy changes can be dangerous when they ignore the impact of the most severe mental disorders, such as suicide, aggression or neglect of one’s most basic personal needs. In their challenge, the plaintiffs fail to address the consequences of the changes they propose on people with profound or life-threatening illness. Any policy changes of this nature must be looked at in depth, looking not only at the change itself but also the consequences that will follow.

Let us know your thoughts on the proposed changes to B.C’s Mental Health Act, join the discussion on our twitter page. Click here to read the full article.

This article previously appeared in Huffington Post Canada.  

3 thoughts on “The B.C. Mental Health Act Protects My Daughter

  1. I have a 38 yr old son who denies being sick, has been hospitalized 3 times in the past 8 years and continues to be discharged, not taking his meds(he doesn’t believe he has to). He has injured family members, including me. I have no right to his medical information. They actually give him the right to not sign a release so that I can have information. I don’t have an actual diagnosis, but he argues with voices within him, is constantly paranoid, accuses people of sexually abusing him, talks to signs on the streets and has been homeless for over 7 years. How on earth could mentally ill patients, especially with such marked psychosis, have the right to make decisions when their reality is so distorted???!!!. How on earth could any kind of therapy help, without the input of the family? This cannot continue to happen! If they are not well enough to follow through with their meds, then they should not be allowed to make decisions. That is the point of view from a mother who has lost hope for her son.

    • By the way, this violates my human rights to live without fear of getting jumped again by my own son.

  2. This is an excellent summary of both Susan Inman’s article and the current court challenge of the Mental Health Act. My loved one has been hospitalized many times, both here in bc and in Ontario. The difference in quality of treatment is stark. In Ontario, where people cannot be forced to take treatment, the attitude of doctors and nurses leans toward not treating. They are anxious to discharge and refuse to treat. even when my loved one arrived, deeply psychotic, by ambulance, he was turned away. The emerg nurse explained to me that all he needed was a sandwich. He vanished for weeks and we feared for his life. In bc, after treatment and ongoing medical care from the MH team, he is stable and living fairly independently.

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