B.C. offers rights advisers for mentally ill patients who are involuntarily detained

·1 min read

VANCOUVER — British Columbia has introduced legislation that would allow people to get independent advice about their rights after they've been involuntarily detained for treatment of a severe mental health disorder.

The province's Mental Health Act allows those in crisis to be treated for their own protection, or the protection of others.

The ministries of Mental Health and Addictions and Attorney General say the service is expected to be available next year and will be primarily virtual, using video conferencing and phones.

They say in a joint release that services will be delivered by a team of independent rights advisers who would provide information and answer questions about rights and options under the law.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson says the rights-advice service is aimed at assuring people will be treated fairly.

The ministries say the number of patients admitted involuntary in B.C. has risen significantly in recent years with increases in mental health and substance use disorders contributing significantly to that trend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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