A politically neutral society
Pathways Serious Mental Illness Society, as an information, resources and support initiative, is a politically neutral society. However, as many of us have experienced, when caring for our loved ones, we often run up against insensitive staff, red tape, secrecy, legislation and issues with how legislation is interpreted and implemented. That’s why we urge you to take the time to learn about the positions that your future leaders have on the issues you care about.
You may be aware that a small group of people can impact and influence legislation that will, in turn, affect the care of our loved ones. You can have an impact by being informed and aware. And by directing questions to your MLA or political leadership. As families and friends who have had the frontline experience of caring for loved ones, our voices are important.
The BC Mental Health Act currently gives our ill loved ones experiencing psychosis access to involuntary hospitalization and treatment for short periods of time based on the assessment of one or two physicians. This access could be lost in the face of a charter challenge by a disability organization that seeks to end involuntary treatment with involuntary hospitalization. Our ill loved one could remain in psychosis without treatment because they lack insight into their illness and not give permission for treatment.
Be informed: ask questions.
We know that just getting by day to day can be difficult, but candidates’ views on mental health treatment, addictions and substance use care are our concerns as a community.
One way you can help foster more awareness for access to mental health care and to prioritize care is to reach out and learn more about the NDP leadership candidates’ stances.
You have a voice
On August 23, 2022, Joe Gormley, President of Pathways SIMS, wrote to Honourable Murray Rankin, Attorney General and the Honourable. Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. The letter was copied to Premier John Horgan, the Honourable. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, regarding the independent rights service for mental health.
On October 26, 2022, Honourable Murray Rankin, KC Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, replied to the letter and copied Honourable John Horgan, Honourable Adrian Dix, and Honourable Sheila Malcolmson.
As an advocacy group, it is important that, as a collective, we continue to put pressure on our leadership to review and update legislation to support the awareness, diagnosis and treatment of serious mental illness.
As of November 18, 2022, David Eby, MLA, Vancouver-Point Grey, was sworn in as British Columbia’s premier-designate.
Write an email
We have created a sample message to make it easier for you to email BC’s leadership and learn more about how strongly they, under the new leadership of David Eby, will prioritize mental health, addictions, and substance use care.
Hello [Mr/Ms—insert name]
Congratulations on being elected as premier-designate for British Columbia. I am writing to you today, as a constituent of [insert city or district], to learn more about your position on access to involuntary mental health hospitalization and treatment, addictions and substance use care, as these are often concurrent challenges.
I am the [parent/caregiver] of a loved one who suffers from a [bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder]. This serious mental health issue drastically impacts their life, as well as mine and other caregivers. Mental illness is often compounded by substance use.
- What do you see as the most significant gaps, and what are your priorities in mental health treatment, addictions and substance use care?
- How do you view involuntary hospitalization and treatment provisions of the BC Mental Health Act?
- As a final candidate, will you actively voice your concerns and priorities on mental health treatment, addictions and substance use care?
I sincerely appreciate your time, and I look forward to your response, which I will share with my mental health network.
[Insert your name]