More support needed for mentally ill


Re: “NIMBYs want to hear from the IMBYs,” letter, Oct. 5.

I also live on Pandora Avenue between Cook and Vancouver streets and consider myself lucky to have a tree-filled, grass-covered public space in front of my building. I have lived here for 10 years and have seen major positive changes in the neighbourhood as Our Place has expanded its services and additional services have become available for the hard-to-house.

What disturbs me is the seeming inability of society to deal with the unintended consequences of the decision to de-institutionalize mental-health patients. This is the result of not providing adequate support in the community to ensure monitoring of medication, housing and counselling services.

What disturbs me is treating drug dependency as a criminal issue and not a health problem. We hear the evidence that safe-injection sites save lives and money, and reduce the number of discarded needles in public spaces. We hear of the need for an increased number of detox and rehabilitation spaces for those ready to deal with their addiction. We do not respond.

What doesn’t disturb me is the public space on Pandora Avenue being used during the day by those relying on couch surfing, shelter beds or sleeping in the rough for housing. I do not deny that sometimes things get messy and some behaviours are uncomfortable, but during my lifetime, I have seen equal or worse occurring in private spaces. There are many reasons why people fall outside of the “normal curve,” and patterned behaviours are hard to change without adequate supports.

Roald Anderson


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