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Prince George woman fears mentally ill son will hurt himself if released from care

12/31/2014 10:58 EST | Updated 03/02/2015 05:59 EST
A Prince George, B.C. woman says she fears her son may hurt himself or others if he's released from psychiatric care.

The mentally-ill 24-year-old, who cannot be identified for privacy reasons, has been in hospital since Monday when he showed up at an emergency room with a black eye. 

Elda Armstrong said her son keeps getting committed and released despite 35 incidents with police in as many days. Her son is currently in the psychiatric unit of the Prince George Hospital, and he will be released in the coming days. 

"Somehow my son's just slipping through all the cracks," she said. 

"He punched a woman on a bus because, in his words, she was looking at him with Ghostbuster eyes and burning him. Now that he's crossed that line and assaulted a stranger, I'm terrified that he could get worse."

She said her son doesn't qualify for treatment, because he's autistic and has addiction issues. Armstrong insists he needs 24 hour supervised care, because when he's on his own, he's sometimes delusional.

If he's released, Armstrong worries her son may wind up like a mentally ill man, who was shot by Transit Police in Surrey, B.C. this past weekend. 

RCMP Cpl. Craig Douglass says mental health calls in Prince George are increasing. 

"When we go to these calls,  we never know what we're going to deal with," he said.

Northern Health Authority public affairs spokesperson Jonathan Dyck declined to comment on the specifics of Armstrong's son's case for privacy reasons.

However, the province recently announced it was adding 40 new beds to treat mental illness and addictions at Riverview Hopsital in Coquitlam, B.C.  and the Northern Health Authority said it's adding 12 more staff next year to treat patients.

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