Nanaimo’s mayor wants province to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

The mayor of Nanaimo wants the province to institutionalize severely mentally ill people who are homeless and often addicted to alcohol and illegal substances.

Leonard Krog says the government’s construction of modular homes that replaced a bulldozed tent city is helping but those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care.

Krog says he doesn’t want a return to warehousing mentally ill people as was the case in institutions like the Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam, which began accepting fewer patients in the 1990s before closing.

The mayor says the city of under 100,000 people has a homeless population of between 600 and 800 and many who are mentally ill and causing public disorder need treatment in a facility based in the community.

He says it’s the province’s job to treat those who can’t function on the streets, some because of brain injury from overdosing on fentanyl.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy says the province is “taking a very hard look” at providing services for people with serious mental health and addiction issues.

A tent city in Nanaimo

Victoria Times Colonist

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