EDITORIAL: Mental illness brought into light

Victoria's Vital Signs 2013 report shows people are thinking more about this ongoing issue

Given our region is slowly, but surely pulling itself out of the economic doldrums, we’re not surprised that the high cost of living remains atop the list of residents’ concerns in the 2013 Victoria Vital Signs report.

What raises our eyebrows, however, is that mental illness jumped from 10th to second in survey respondents’ rankings of what they feel are the most important issues facing Greater Victoria.

Interestingly, the Victoria Foundation’s annual community report card showed that people are, for the most part, leading happy lives, feel supported by friends and family and feel connected to their community.

For people battling mental illness in our communities, those feelings can be largely absent and the world can seem a very dark place, indeed.

In light of the recent B.C. Coroner’s Report which stated that more needs to be done to prevent teen suicide, we are heartened by the survey results. They indicate an increasing recognition of the realities of mental illness. Acknowledgement of any problem is the first step in creating more opportunities for understanding and compassion.

Mental illness covers a broad range of conditions, from mild depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. While members of the region’s street communities may offer the most visible examples of more extreme cases, virtually everyone knows someone who has faced mental health problems to some degree, or has struggled with it themselves.

And more frequently, high-profile individuals are taking their stories public of battles with mental illness, as a way of shedding light on what has been a dark secret for many of them.

The costs to society of mental illness are great when considering the policing and court costs, health care and lost productivity. But the impacts on personal potential and family relationships are equally important to consider when trying to build a healthier society.

While the Vital Signs report offers an indication of people’s thinking on a number of quality-of-life issues, we hope this year’s edition helps bring mental illness further into the light.

Just Posted

Howard the Gnome finds a home at Galey Farms

Eight-metre gnome expected to greet visitors to Saanich farm this fall

In a fight against cancer, Victoria man’s only stem cell match was his own donation

More mixed race and Asian stem cell donors needed, says Victoria family

Bridges for Women grad takes on new business idea

Victoria woman puts her lessons into action with Sweeping Beauty Concierge

VicPD warn public on fake firearms after responding to four gun calls in just five hours

Officers treat each firearm as a real weapon until they can determine it isn’t, say police

Purple Day 2019: Victoria marks epilepsy awareness day

1 in 100 Canadians live with epilepsy, a neurological disorder with many symptoms

VIDEO: 13-year-old killed in B.C. crash that involved five kids

The children range in age from six to 17.

POLL: Do you still have a landline telephone?

With smart phones becoming an indispensable part of modern-day life, more and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MPs denounce leaked reports of Trudeau-JWR clash over Supreme Court pick

Opposition MPs called the leaks an act of desperation meant to smear Wilson-Raybould

Study says B.C.’s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for eviction

The study involves 50 people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

VIDEO: Homicide team called in after three killed in Surrey car crash

Investigators ask public to come forward with information, dashcam video

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

UPDATED: Sailings resume after BC Ferries boat hits Langdale terminal

The Queen of Surrey is stuck on the dock, causing delays to Horseshoe Bay trips

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Most Read