For Immediate Release
November 24, 2009
(Victoria) North Island MLA Claire Trevena has challenged the government to continue to fund crisis lines across Vancouver Island.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) wants to centralise the service, shutting down the locally run operations and so far the Minister of Health, Kevin Falcon, is refusing to stop the move.
“The Minister keeps talking about how centralisation is a good ‘administrative’ move. What he does not realise is that we are talking about front line mental health care for hundreds of people. He also seems to think the services are just for the six towns in which they are located; in reality they cover the whole island and provide help for people in rural and very isolated communities,” said Trevena, who raised the issue in the Legislature.
“These crisis lines are central to suicide prevention, they have the support of mental health workers, and still he will not ask VIHA to reconsider.”
Trevena is also concerned about the lack of consultation with the communities and providers before the decision was made. Further there was no warning to First Nations, for whom the crisis lines are particularly important.
“The Minister seemed unconcerned about whether there was any consultation with First Nations about the cuts to these lines,” said Trevena. “That goes against the spirit and the intent of the BC government’s own New Relationship which was supposed to define a new partnership with First Nations across our province.
“The protocols around how to prevent suicides have been built around the crisis line in the north island and still the decision to shut it down is shrugged off as ‘administrative’. It is a short sighted plan which will save little money and could put lives at risk.”
In the north and central island services would be lost from the Crisis Line based out of Port Hardy, the Crisis Line based out of Campbell River, and the Crossroads Centre, based out of Comox.
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Contact: Sandra Doran 250-287-5100