Saturday, September 10, 2011

Connecting the Dots for Mental Health

September 10, 2011

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and about 300 people participated in a rally in downtown Victoria. They are calling for some very basic services not currently available to British Columbians in mental health crises. Access to emergency psychiatric services, a bed to sleep on during their crisis, and publicly funded psychotherapy are some of the services needed not available to most people.

Although I had to be elsewhere - my staff represented me at the rally, including reading my statement below.

Too many people are falling through the cracks in our mental health system. It is well passed time to address the gaps that lead already vulnerable people to suicide.

Thank you to the organizers, the volunteers, the speakers, the photographers, for the donations and, of course, thank you to the DOTS.

Good Day Dots Supporters,

I regret that I am unable to be here is person today. It was a great pleasure for our Saanich South Constituency office to assist the Dots Rally from the beginning. The awareness that DOTS is bringing to our Capital Region and to our Province is extremely valuable. Political will is often driven by public

awareness and demand, and taking this issue to the streets, literally, is an excellent use of time and resources. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Jean- for her dedication and passion.

I was thinking about who I would wear my dot for?

This is a question that emphasizes the incredible need for seamless mental health care in Canada and in BC. This is a question that can't be answered without feeling a sense of sadness and frustration due to the lack of connection for people of all ages who suffer with mental illness.

So who does my dot represent? My dot represents Rusty, Brendan and Cam; friends who are not here today because they couldn't find a way to connect the dots and they fell between the cracks. My dot represents all of us who have lost people or feel we are losing people because there are too many spaces between the DOTS here in BC. My DOT is for our community that is suffering because we don't have a plan. And my DOT is for you, because you are here today, and my DOT is standing beside yours making the connection.

Thank-you so very much for taking part is this incredibly important event.

Your Sincerely,

Lana Popham

MLA, Saanich South

(Hands Photo: Daphne Shaed)