We hear about horrific situations in Canada when interactions between mentally unstable people and law enforcement lead to tragic outcomes. Less well known are the longtime efforts of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to meet the needs of the 30% of their calls that deal with mental illness. While applauding the efforts of police to adapt, shouldn't we also be looking more closely at policies that are creating the chaos of so much untreated mental illness?
Now that Mental Illness Awareness Week is over for another year, how many of you learned about the early warning signs of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder? Since over 3 per cent of the population will develop these disorders, usually in adolescence or young adulthood, it's useful information. Parents who don't understand the strange behaviours that accompany psychosis are completely disempowered.