Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following statement regarding the report by the representative for children and youth titled Detained: Rights of Children and Youth under the Mental Health Act:
“Thank you to the representative and the young people and youth advocates who added their voices to this report. It is never easy to tell your story and I thank you for sharing your experiences. We welcome this important input and accept the recommendations in principle. We will be working with our partner ministries to review and develop a plan with Indigenous partners to address the recommendations and reflect them in ongoing work as we continue building a co-ordinated mental health and addictions system from the ground up.
“As part of that work, we are going to keep listening to advocates, experts, families and young people with lived experience. Our main focus continues to be on boosting the voluntary system of care so young people can get help early on, before smaller problems become larger ones. At the same time, we’re committed to ensuring that safeguards and culturally appropriate care are in place in more acute situations when involuntary admissions are necessary.
“Nothing is more important to our work than keeping people safe, especially young people. Our government is committed to working with Indigenous partners to create a system of mental health and substance use services that acknowledge the legacy of colonialism and racism, and one that is culturally safe and embraces Indigenous models of healing.
“We’ve been making progress for young people in B.C. since 2017 by expanding voluntary services that support them. New Foundry centres, child and youth teams in school districts, doubling the number of youth substance use treatment beds and expanding specialized services are just some of the examples. But after so many years where there was no system for young people to turn to, many people are still struggling to get care.
“We still have a long road ahead, but together with our partners, we will build that better system that supports cultural safety and works for everyone.”