Moms support Victoria couple’s youth mental health petition

Online campaign to bring about more supports for youth nears 30,000-signature mark

The mothers of two teens who committed suicide are publicly supporting a Victoria couple in their fight to improve B.C.’s emergency mental health services.

Carol Todd and Barb Kozeletski say the petition started by Kelly and Owen Bradley, calling on the province to do more for vulnerable children and teenagers, is a worthy cause.

The Bradleys’ daughter was sent home from Victoria General Hospital on three occasions while suffering a violent bipolar episode. Their online petition (chn.ge/YYjR1C) has garnered more than 29,000 signatures since January.

“We know health funding is tight, but we’re talking about children who are self-harming or have suicidal (thoughts) who are reaching out for help,” said Kozeletski. Her daughter, Hayden, took her life in 2009 while under professional care at Ledger House, a 13-bed youth mental health-care facility in Saanich.

“The system failed Hayden. I would hate to see the Bradleys or any other family go through the heartbreak we did when our daughter took her life.”

The Bradleys waited 19 days earlier this year to have their daughter placed at Ledger House. She was scheduled to be discharged this week.

Amanda Todd, 15, killed herself at her family’s Coquitlam home last October after persistent bullying.

“Too many lives have been lost already,” Carol Todd said.

“Kelly and Owen’s endeavour to improve emergency services for children and youth with mental health concerns is one that I will continue to support in our province and promote awareness of globally.”

The Vancouver Island Health Authority announced earlier this month it was hiring full-time child and adolescent psychiatrists and creating an on-call 24-7 emergency psychiatric care team at Victoria General Hospital.

dpalmer@vicnews.com