Review Panel says police are a de facto part of the mental health system

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VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Coroners Service’s Death Review Panel has released a report looking at how police play a role in the mental health system.

According to the Review Panel, after examining the deaths of people who died during or within 24 hours following contact with police in B.C., it was determined that police are a de facto part of the mental health system.

The panel is suggesting that the role of policing should be implemented into the provincial mental health strategy, highlighting that more assessment and training opportunities exist.

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Panel Chair, Michael Egilson, says it is important to acknowledge that police play a role and that they should be incorporated in a province-wide mental health and addictions strategy.

“We need to drive home the point that the police have become part of the mental health system and that their role needs to be acknowledged, supported and incorporated into the larger provincial mental health and addictions strategy.”

The Death Review Panel included 19-panel experts who are professionals with expertise in policing, policing oversight, public health, health services, mental health and addictions, and Indigenous health.

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For more information on the Death Review Panel, you can visit the Government’s website.

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