B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)

B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

British Columbia’s representative for children and youth says she has heard harrowing stories from those who were involuntarily hospitalized for a mental illness without access to legal advice.

Jennifer Charlesworth has released a report with input from youth who say they were restrained, medicated and secluded against their will.

Charlesworth is calling on the B.C. government to amend the Mental Health Act to allow youth to have access to a legal advocate while they’re in care.

She says that while the Health Ministry believes Indigenous youth are overrepresented when it comes to being detained in hospital, it lacks data on how many youth are being affected.

Charlesworth says that’s troubling because young people are being retraumatized when what they need is care that is culturally appropriate.

ALSO READ: Advocates urge B.C. to withdraw proposed bill allowing youth to be held after overdoses

She says over a decade, the number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent, bringing into question the voluntary system of care and treatment.

The province paused legislation last July to amend the act after Charlesworth and some First Nations groups said youth worried about being detained would fear asking for help.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Youth protection

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rendering of the new Nanaimo Correctional Centre. (IBI Group Architects image)
Designs come in for Nanaimo’s new jail

City’s design advisory panel supports height variance at Nanaimo Correctional Centre

The City of Nanaimo is administering a petition-against process to determine if property owners in the downtown core are in favour of establishing a business improvement area. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s downtown property owners to decide if they want new BIA

City council votes to administer petition-against process for business improvement association

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help locate a guitar and travel bag stolen from a vehicle in a downtown hotel parking lot. (Photo submitted)
Gibson guitar, Louis Vuitton bag stolen from vehicle in Nanaimo

Items taken from car in Coast Bastion Hotel parking lot last week

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Nanaimo sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Whispers Adult Superstore overnight Feb. 21

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read