Tag Archives: Mental Health Act

Anti-Psychiatry in British Columbia – The Need for Continual Vigilence

By Marvin Ross

Over the past few years, I’ve been writing about the attempts by what I consider an anti-psychiatry group in British Columbia to derail that provinces excellent mental health act. They are still at it. I first wrote about it in the Huffington Post back in 2016 and again later that same year when someone fled BC to Ontario claiming she was a refugee from the BC Act.

In 2019, Susan Inman did a guest blog on this site on the attempts in BC to do away with involuntary treatment for those who are hospitalized under the act. The initial challenge to the Act was tossed on a technicality but the attempts still persist as Susan wrote recently in a Vancouver newspaper. The latest assault on involuntary treatment is from a report by the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) called Detained: Rights of Children and Youth Under the Mental Health Act.

The key to their complaints is that people who are involuntarily committed are assumed to be consenting to treatment and they are then treated even if they do not want to be treated. The RCY argues that BC is the only jurisdiction in Canada that treats involuntary patients. BC, in fact, has the best provision to enable treatment to start immediately. Ontario is the only jurisdiction that allows an involuntary patient the right to refuse treatment with dire consequences which I will get to.

In Nova Scotia and Manitoba, if a patient, while competent, instructs a substitute decision maker (SDM) to refuse treatment, the SDM must follow those requests when the patient is involuntary unless doing so will result in significant harm. If that becomes the case, the SDM must make decisions in the best interest of the patient. Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan have raised the bar for capability to fully capable in order to refuse treatment. In Alberta and the Yukon, review boards can overcome refusals to treatment. In New Brunswick, the review board can overturn a refusal to treatment if it means that no treatment will result in the patient remaining in hospital as an involuntary hold.

The purpose of involuntary treatment (or any treatment for that matter) is to help the patient get better. If they are involuntary, the point should be to get them better so they can get out of hospital. If you deny treatment for the person as the BC advocates want to, will they get out? The answer to that can be found in the stupidity of the Ontario Act which allows someone declared involuntary to then refuse treatment and to remain in hospital, ill, for years.

As John Gray said in a presentation he gave to an Ontario committee in 2009 studying this:

Treatment refusal leads to unnecessary loss of liberty, continued suffering, unnecessary health costs and harm to others (e.g. assaults on nurses)

Gray pointed out that on average, people can be discharged after about a month with treatment but refusal to allow treatment can result in years and years in hospital. He and two others wrote a paper called Treatment Delayed – Liberty Denied. In one case, Professor Starson was held untreated for 5 years in an Ontario hospital while his case made its way up to the Supreme Court. And those people who appealed a Review Board finding waited 253 days until the courts dismissed their appeals and the doctors could treat. The courts uphold the Review Boards so the patients wasted 253 days.

And one sidebar on the Professor. He was not a professor and his name was not Starson but he called himself that because he believed himself to be a son of the stars. He was always referred to as Professor Starson even by the Supreme Court of Canada so you really have to wonder who is crazy.

But what is worse are the examples given in that particular study. There were people being detained for 5, 10 and even 25 years because they refused treatment and so remained a danger to themselves or others. At $600 per day, or $219,000 for 1 wasted year and 4.38 million for 20 years that is a lot of taxpayer’s money not to treat people and to also deny them their liberty. That is the Province of Ontario but that is not something that could happen in BC with its mental health act which these anti-psychiatry types want to abandon in favour of Ontario’s flawed legislation.

Returning to the most recent BC report, it should be said that the study is not what anyone would call proper research. The conclusions the author made are invalid in my opinion.. They interviewed 14 young people about their experiences in the system – hardly a systematic evaluation. The report makes this statement:

Although the Mental Health Act features protective safeguards – including requiring the provision of information about rights, notification of a near relative, second medical opinions, re-assessments, Mental Health Review Board hearings and access to legal counsel for Review Board hearings – this report finds that young people are apparently not being informed of and certainly not being supported to exercise their rights under the Act.

And they are correct in that the Act states in its guide that:

the Act also contains protections to ensure that these provisions are applied in an appropriate and lawful manner. Safeguards for the rights of people involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric facility include rights notification, medical examinations at specified time periods, second medical opinions on proposed treatment and access to review panels and the court.

The report suggests that this is not happening or at least they say apparently and that seems to be based not on a review of the statistics kept on children and youth who go through the system but on the recollection of the young people themselves. It seems they did look for the data but found it to be inconsistent and/or missing. That is a relevant finding and they should insist that the departments involved get their acts together and ensure proper statistics. It does not mean they can come to the conclusion that these safeguards are ignored.

The one other thing that I want to mention is this comment that there is a:

lack of opportunity for young people detained under the Mental Health Act to have a say in treatment options that are more trauma-informed, relational and diverse rather than exclusively medical, and to stay connected with family and culture to help deal with underlying causes of their symptoms.”

This reflects their anti-psychiatry stance particularly with the mention of the need to get away from treatments that are “exclusively medical”. These are treatments that are evidence based and ones that have demonstrated a level of efficacy. They go even further with the suggestion that treatment staff must “Ensure First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous children and youth detained under the Mental Health Act receive trauma-informed, culturally safe and attuned mental health services.”

All staff in whatever system need to be culturally sensitive to the above groups and to all racialized groups to help counter systemic racism. The attitudes of staff can be discriminatory unfortunately but evidence based treatment modalities or mental illness are non discriminatory. The one caveat to that might be the problem with drug trials not having sufficient representation from a diverse enough population.

The issue of traditional treatments for Indigenous people came up in Ontario a few years ago with disastrous results. Two young Indigenous girls insisted that their cancer be treated by traditional methods and not western medicine. Maykala Sault, an 11 year old from the New Credit First Nations was being treated with conventional therapy at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton. She was given a 75 per cent chance of survival when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Doctors stated that no one survived this form of cancer without chemo but Maykala decided to stop in order to pursue traditional Indigenous medicine. She died. So much for the efficacy of traditional healing. But then again, some of her treatments were carried out by a clinic in Florida which was actually licensed as a massage establishment and is being sued – not exactly traditional culture.

In a similar case, another Indigenous child aged 11 from the Six Nations decided to forgo traditional medical treatment for Indigenous care. Doctor’s treating her appealed to court to be allowed to continue scientific therapy but the judge ruled that she and her family had the right to decide to have other therapy. The name of the child was withheld so I have not seen what the outcome was in that case. The so called traditional therapy was also carried out at the same facility in Florida.

That treatment cost the family $18,000 and involved being taught to “heal themselves” from cancer by eating raw, organic vegetables and having a positive attitude. You can read about this clinic in this article from the CBC.

I’ve digressed a bit with this description but the intent was to show how ludicrous it is to abandon evidence based therapy whether for mental illness, cancer or any other condition.

Sadly, this BC report is nothing but another anti-psychiatry, anti-science piece of fluff which gets far too much attention from the public and politicians. If I may be allowed, if you want to read a comprehensive refutation of all that anti-psychiatry holds dear, my book, Anti-psychiatry and the UN Assault on the Mentally Ill will be available shortly.

Guest Blog Mental Illness Left Out of BC Candidates Debate on Mental Health Services

By Susan Inman author of After Her Brain Broke Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity

Just before BC’s Oct. 24th election, candidates from the NDP, Liberal and Green parties participated in a debate on mental health services organized by the BC CMHA. Unfortunately, for people concerned about those living with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, during the entire two-hour event there was only one fleeting reference to “mental illness.”

There was no mention during this debate of what advocates for the needs of people with severe mental illnesses frequently call attention to such as the shortage of acute and tertiary psychiatric beds, the need for more supported housing, implementation of cognitive remediation programs and focused efforts to improve the ability of mental health staff to cooperate with families. The current BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (see Guide to the Mental Health Act Appendix 13) actually allows for communication between staff and families in order to provide continuity of care; too many staff either do not know about this provision or prefer not to abide by it. Promoting improvements in this cooperation would be an excellent and inexpensive policy position for a political party.

Most of the plans that were presented focused on promotion of mental health especially among children and youth. These were discussed as ways to prevent future mental health problems. The debate’s moderator, Tyee health reporter Moira Wyton, firmly declared that “root causes” of these future problems are abuse and trauma and the evening’s discussion was shaped around these beliefs. Wyton promoted the popular but erroneous notion that mental health problems should be understood as arising from adverse social determinants of health. No-one mentioned the existence of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or appeared to know that neither of these medical disorders, impacting about 4% of the population, can be prevented.

While there was no acknowledgement of the existence of or the needs of people with severe mental illnesses, threats to the basic safety of this population were actually omnipresent in much of the debate. These threats relate to support for the current vigorous efforts from some advocacy groups to cut off access to involuntary treatment.

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder frequently involve episodes of psychosis accompanied by anosognosia, a brain based inability for people to understand that they are ill and need treatment. Without this treatment, people are left trapped in psychosis and frequently become homeless, victimized, addicted and, increasingly, incarcerated. Although the streets and shelters of cities and towns across the province are full of these people, no-one during the two hour debate took notice of them.

Wyton’s beliefs shaped the discussion of involuntary treatment; early in the debate Wyton declared that evidence shows that involuntary treatment doesn’t work.

This was an alarming moment for people familiar with the dangers of living with psychotic illnesses. It doesn’t take much research to find substantial evidence that involuntary treatment does very often not only get people out of psychosis, but allows them to live more stable and longer lives.

The evidence supporting the use of involuntary treatment is why in recent years the US has brought in numerous Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs. BC’s extended leave outpatient programs are similar to these. Research on AOT programs have demonstrated dramatic reductions in homelessness, hospitalization, arrests, and incarceration.

Involuntary treatment for psychotic disorders relies on the use of medications. A recently released long and large (62,000 people) study coming from Scandinavia demonstrates that people diagnosed with schizophrenia who stayed on antipsychotic medication were twice as likely to be alive after 20 years in contrast to those who didn’t.

Wyton and the Green Party candidate advocated for a review of and changes to BC’s Mental Health Act; groups pursuing this effort want to eliminate involuntary treatment. The Green candidate also advocated for the elimination of Canada’s reservation to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD); he sees it as essential in ensuring human rights. Canada’s reservation to the controversial CRPD ensures that people have access to involuntary treatment when they need it.

Wyton writes that mental health advocates want to ‘overhaul” what she calls an outdated Mental Health Act. Her questions during the debate assumed that the value of the review of the Mental Health Act isn’t to be questioned. She seems unaware that advocates in my community of families of people with the most severe mental illnesses are very concerned about these efforts; we know that if the goals of the groups pushing for the review are realized, access to involuntary treatment will disappear.

Wyton references a report from the BC Ombudsperson which has led to more careful completion of necessary forms used in involuntary treatment. The Ombudsperson report relies on a document, Operating in Darkness, released by the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS), an organization pushing for a review of BC’s Mental Health Act; the Ombudsperson did not recommend this review or any significant changes to the Mental Health Act. Lead author Laura Johnson is representing the plaintiffs in the current attack on BC’s Mental Health Act which would eliminate access to involuntary treatment. Johnson’s perspectives on psychotic illnesses and treatments relied on the beliefs of the fringe group Mad in America (MIA), not the knowledge of contemporary psychiatry. Johnson quotes a MIA psychiatrist who believes anti-psychotic medications don’t actually get and keep people out of psychosis. This is a common belief in the influential psychiatric survivor/alternative movement made up of people who believe they were harmed by psychiatrists and medications that they didn’t need for their problems.

Wyton’s article supports Johnson’s and the BC Ombudsperson’s recommendations for “independent” rights advice. However, the core issue in this change wasn’t acknowledged. As Johnson wishes, the report suggested a change in the way legal rights are explained to involuntary patients. Currently, legal rights, including the request for a review panel, are explained by psychiatric nurses and social workers who see and work with the patients. The Ombudsperson recommended that an outside legal agency, like the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) with which Johnson is affiliated, take over supplying legal advice. If this were to happen, then millions of dollars in the vastly underfunded mental health system would now be going to lawyers. And if CLAS supplies these lawyers, these lawyers will be working to get people out of the hospital, regardless of how severely ill they may be.

The debate would have been the perfect opportunity for an impartial moderator to ask the Green candidate, who called for the elimination of Canada’s CRPD reservation, to discuss the consequences of this action.

This would have allowed everyone to learn that the consequences include elimination of all involuntary inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment and eliminating the not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder defence. The effect would be that the more than 15,000 people a year in BC, whose illness is so severe that they are likely to harm themselves or others or deteriorate, would be turned away from hospitals.

Currently, people who are found to have committed their crimes because of their mental illness are sent to forensic hospitals. These hospitals allow people whose mental illnesses are understood to have caused their crimes to receive treatment and regain their freedom. Instead, if Canada’s reservation to the CRPS is removed, anyone convicted of a crime, no matter how mentally ill they were at the time, will serve their sentence in the regular prison population. People with mental illnesses in the regular prison system often cannot follow rules and end up with longer sentences. Some of us would have appreciated a moderator asking a human rights lawyer, like the Green candidate, to explain how these changes further the human rights of this population.

It’s common for human and disability rights groups to avoid acknowledging the negative consequences of their positions. In fact, these groups often actively undermine efforts by journalists and filmmakers to draw attention to the suffering of people with untreated mental illnesses.

The psychiatric survivors, whom these groups rely on to support their positions, maintain that attention should not be given to those with untreated psychotic disorders who cycle in and out of homelessness, ER’s and incarceration. They argue that this attention promotes stigma against people like them whom they say are people with mental health challenges. In fact, just the use of the term “mental illnesses” is seen as offensive and this might explain its basic absence in the recent debate.

Human and disability rights advocates must look beyond the perspectives of the psychiatric survivor movement if they want to authentically represent the rights of people with severe mental illnesses.

People like my daughter and her friends who live with schizophrenia have had access to involuntary treatment when they needed it. Although they aren’t able to participate in contentious meetings or write about their opinions, they don’t want to be left in untreated psychosis in the future.

If rights groups wanted to truly represent the people they are assumed to represent, they could easily access the perspectives of people with severe illnesses who publicly support access to involuntary treatment.

Julia Fast blogs about living with her bipolar disorder in Psychology Today. She supports involuntary treatment and writes:

“The concept of individual rights doesn’t apply to someone who is not in his or her right mind. We are not in our right minds when we are sick.”

Joseph Bowers, who has lived a long life with schizophrenia writes:

“I’m near seventy, healthy, a husband and father who is retired with enough money coming in. None of this could have happened without involuntary treatment. My civil liberties were not taken away when force medicated and treated. I was instead liberated from the tyranny of serious psychosis.”

Eric Smith, who lives with bipolar disorder, endured 15 years of chaos before he got access to involuntary Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) services. He writes,

“AOT saved me from the criminal justice system and from insanity.”

Erin Hawkes, a Vancouver based peer support worker on an Assertive Community Treatment, makes clear her support for involuntary treatment in her National Post article (#19), “Forced Medication Saved My Life.”

The absence of the perspectives of people like these writers living with psychotic disorders was very evident in this debate. Alternative groups and their allies in academia want to de-medicalize all ‘mental health problems.’ They promote the notion that all people impacted by ‘mental health challenges’ object to involuntary care. They have been aided in these efforts in the unwillingness of national and provincial governments to provide adequate public mental illness literacy campaigns. Until they are exposed to essential information, the public won’t increase its support for the policies and programs that actually help, not harm, people with severe mental illnesses.

The lack of basic public mental illness literacy hurts people with psychotic disorders. This lack leads to family and friends not looking for medically based advice and this leads to prolonged duration of untreated psychosis (DUP). Long DUP is strongly linked to worse outcomes.

Now that BC has held its election, the Green Party is limited to three representatives; their perspectives won’t be receiving the same kind of attention as they did during this debate. Hopefully, journalists covering the ongoing efforts of groups like them that are fighting to stop access to involuntary treatment will become more able to inform the public of what the consequences of these changes would mean.

The lack of acknowledgement of severe mental illnesses in this debate is not unique to BC or Canada. These are problems arising from trends in the social sciences, divorced from scientific and evidence-based approaches, that got out of control. Those pushing for a review of BC’s Mental Health Act want us to see it as “outdated.” In fact, it’s a tribute to more rational voices that managed to prevail. People in other parts of Canada, whose family members have been left to flounder in untreated psychosis, look to BC as a model for a more humane response to people trapped in psychosis.

The inadequate funding of services for people with severe mental illnesses will continue to confront the newly re-elected NDP government. However, not providing these services leads to homelessness, recurring use of ambulances and ER’s, the development of concurrent disorders, and involvement in the criminal justice system. These are very expensive consequences for taxpayers.

The profound economic impact of CODID 19 may make it even more difficult to get the necessary supports for this population and the family caregivers they often rely on. Families like mine can only hope that, at least, legal decisions won’t be made that will make life even harder and more dangerous through misguided interpretations of human rights.

Ontario’s Flawed Mental Health System and the Failure of the Current Provincial Government

By Marvin Ross

stone of madness

I recently came across an excellent assessment of the very bad mental health system in Ontario that prefers to have people receive services in the forensic stream rather than before they get to that point. The assessment was not published but was obtained under Freedom of Information.

That led me to write this on Huffington Post – Ontario Has Failed to Provide Adequate Resources for Mental Illness. 

After that appeared, the Hamilton Spectator did a feature on a young man named Ross Biancale with the head I’ve already written his obituary: Mom struggles to save son from himself. This sad but true recounting of what it takes to get someone service in Ontario illustrated all the points that I made in my Huffington Post blog. Below is my explanation for this mess.

The reason that Ross Biancale and thousands like him are falling through the cracks of the mental health system (the Spectator, January 23) is easily explained and easily fixed. They have not been fixed because the Liberal government has no interest in doing so.

Justice Richard D Schneider ran the Toronto Mental Health Court for years and then completed a report for the Department of Justice called The Mentally Ill: How They Became Enmeshed in the Criminal Justice System and How We Might Get Them Out in 2015. That report only saw light of day because of a CBC Freedom of Information request.

Justice Schneider points out that the main fault is the Ontario Mental Health Act and the conditions required for an involuntary committal to hospital. Under the current legislation, someone who is exhibiting all the signs of illness, listening to the voices of Martians in his head while denying he is ill, cannot be hospitalized without consent. Neither the police nor the Justice of the Peace will help hospitalize that person if they do not believe there is “clear evidence that he is dangerous to himself or others”. And, even if he is admitted, he is “discharged before he is stable” and “his condition deteriorates”.

Justice Schneider said “if the individual is not seen as dangerous to himself or others he is free to roam the streets ‘madder than a hatter’” And, in many cases, the person will come into conflict with the law and wind up in the vastly more expensive forensic psychiatric system.

The 1967 Ontario Mental Health Act allowed for someone to be admitted to hospital involuntarily if they were suffering from a mental disorder severe enough to warrant treatment in hospital for their own or others safety and they could be held for one month. That was changed in 1978 thanks to the civil libertarians to involuntary treatment only if the person had threatened or attempted to do harm to himself or others. The time held was lowered to 14 days.

Further, the 1967 Act considered that hospitalization meant treatment and people being held were treated. That changed in 1978 and someone could be held involuntarily but they did not have to agree to treatment.

Attempts have been made to change the Mental Health Act in Ontario and that was one of the recommendations of the 2008 all party Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions. Recommendation 21 in that report states that the Ontario government should set up a task force within one year to “investigate and propose changes to Ontario’s mental health legislation and

policy pertaining to involuntary admission and treatment.”

That was 2008 and this is 2018 and the Liberal government still has not acted.

The other barrier to effective treatment mentioned in the Spectator article is our privacy legislation. If a person is over 18, they are an adult even if they live with their parents and are supported by them. Health care providers cannot talk to family without the permission of the ill person and, if they are paranoid, they may not grant permission.

The Select Committee also decided that the government should change the privacy legislation in recommendation 22. “The changes”, they said, “should ensure that family members and caregivers providing support to, and often living with, an individual with a mental illness or addiction have access to the personal health information necessary to provide that support, to prevent the further deterioration in the health of that individual, and to minimize the risk of serious psychological or physical harm.”

The 2013 Mental Health Commission of Canada report on caregivers made similar recommendations but, again, this is 2018 and Ontario has still done nothing.

These are issues that those of us with an interest in improved care for the mentally ill need to ask the candidates running in the upcoming provincial election.


Psychiatric Refugees? Give me a Break!

By Marvin Ross

For years, we’ve had a small group of very vocal people who call themselves psychiatric survivors — people who have had psychiatric treatment, do not agree with it and consider that they have survived it. Now, thanks to CBC radio, we have someone dubbed a psychiatric refugee — a woman who fled British Columbia for Ontario to escape her involuntary status in a B.C. hospital. And, it was said, she is not the only so-called refugee.

Comparing yourself to people who survived a genocide like the Holocaust or saying that you are comparable to Syrians and others fleeing in leaky, dangerous boats from war is absurd. But what is also absurd is the story that this anonymous person called Sarah by the CBC told. It is just not logical but it is being used to justify the Charter challenge to the B.C. Mental Health Act that I suggested was misguided.

People deserve to know and to understand what the Mental Health Act is about. They deserve to know the processes that are in place to commit someone against their will and to treat them. And they need to know the safeguards that are in place to prevent excesses and protect the rights of the individual. These are never explained.

First, I encourage you to listen to the interview. To begin with, Sarah said that she went to the emergency at a hospital with her mother because of troubling life events and she wanted help. She was admitted, she said, voluntarily but then her status was changed to involuntary.

Now, for her to have been declared involuntary, she would have had to have satisfied all four of these criteria (page 18 of the guide):

  • Is suffering from a mental disorder that seriously impairs her ability to react appropriately to her environment or to associate with others;
  • Requires psychiatric treatment in or through a designated facility;
  • Requires care, supervision and control in or through a designated facility to prevent her substantial mental or physical deterioration or for her own protection or the protection of others; and
  • Is not suitable as a voluntary patient.

If she was involuntary, a licensed physician must have assessed her and certified that she met the criteria. Then, another independent physician conducted an examination with the same criteria to extend the stay beyond 48 hours.

( See form 4 where the reasons for the involuntary decision must be listed.)

At the end of one month, she would be examined again to determine if she still met the involuntary admission criteria and the proper form would be filled out to extend her stay a further month (page 20 of the guide). If she no longer needed to be involuntary during this period, the doctor can cancel it and she can always appeal her status to a review board at any time.

Once a patient has been deemed involuntary, they are given a form 5 (consent to treatment) (page 173), which explains to them what treatment is being given. Note that Sarah told the CBC that no one ever discussed treatment with her. They had to.

In addition, Sarah’s rights would have been explained to her and she would be given a form 13 to sign (page 182). She did say she had to sign something but she was not sure what it was. The person having her sign would have told her that she had a right to a lawyer, that she would be regularly examined by a doctor to ensure she was being held appropriately, informed that she could apply to a review board to assess her capacity, go to court to challenge the doctor’s decision and/or request a second opinion from a different doctor.

Next, she would be given a form 15 (page 186) to fill out so that she could nominate a near relative to be informed of her status. She did say that her mother went to the emergency with her so I have to ask where her mother was in all this. Surely she would have been liaising with the hospital staff over diagnoses and treatments. While her mother would have no authority under the act, most doctors do encourage family participation. During the CBC interview, Sarah said that she wished her mother could be involved in her treatment and there is nothing in the act that says she can’t be.

Sarah told the CBC that she absconded during a smoke break and that a form 21 (page 193) had been filled out. That form obligates a peace officer to return her to hospital. Sarah said she went to police in Calgary and told them, and that they called her psychiatrist but they did not hold her for return. The form 21 is only valid within British Columbia, but if 60 days had expired, it would not be valid and she would be deemed discharged.

There are so many holes in what she told the CBC that cast doubt on all she said. It is important for people to understand, particularly in light of the court challenge, what protections there are for an individual who is involuntary. This is not something that anyone takes lightly and is done for the best interest of the patient and for society.

The infamous Vince Li, who beheaded Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus, was initially picked up by Toronto Police in 2004 and taken to hospital. He left hospital against medical advice as there was no mechanism with which to keep him.

Imagine what would have happened if he had been treated initially? Tim McLean would be alive, his family would not have suffered the pain and anguish they did, and the first Mountie on scene might not have developed severe PTSD and eventually taken his own life.

As for Vince Li, he has done so well on treatment that he is now living in a halfway house. I can only guess at the pain he must feel knowing what he did while psychotic and that he would not likely have done if he had been properly treated at the outset.

Vancouver resident Erin Hawkes has written extensively on how the so-called forced treatment had saved her life. She has written in the National Post, numerous times in the Huffington Post and in the Tyee.

The CBC should interview her as well on the court challenge and they should do better fact-checking. If the plaintiffs in this Charter challenge call Sarah as a witness, we will see how well her story holds up to cross-examination.

Note: this first appeared in the Huffington Post on September 26. One person criticized me for attacking mothers which is not what I intended. I pointed out that Sarah’s mother has gone to the ER with her and I likely had input. When I asked where she was, it was a comment directed towards Sarah who said that she wished her mother could have been involved and I suspect she was. I realize that not all doctors and mental health staff are open to families but enough are. My own experience as a family member is that I have always been involved.