Brown Henderson Melbye was proud to co-sponsor the 2017 Iris Reception, benefiting the Victoria chapter of the BC Schizophrenia Society (“BCSS Victoria”).
BHM Lawyers Trudi Brown QC, Shauna Tucker, Suzanne Williams and Samantha Rapoport, our UVic Law Co-op student Emily MacKinnon, and our guest, Mary Mouat QC of Quadra Legal Center, attended the event.
BCSS Victoria does important work in our community. From the BCSS Victoria website.
BCSS Victoria provides services for people with mental illness, regardless of their diagnosis, and the people who care about them. Approximately two thirds of the people that we serve have schizophrenia or psychosis or a loved one with schizophrenia or psychosis, one third a mood disorder (bipolar disorder or major depression) or a loved one that does. We also provide service to people with anxiety, borderline personality disorder and other disorders. Sometimes people do not have a diagnosis but are behaving in a way that leads others to believe that they have a mental illness. We can assist in this situation with support, information and strategies to connect with resources. We provide service to people who have a mental illness and a substance use issue (concurrent disorder or dual diagnosis).
Opening remarks at the BCSS Victoria Iris Reception were delivered by the Honourable Ted Hughes, a retired judge and Honorary Co-Chair of the Iris Reception. Mr. Hughes was game to pose for a photograph with the BHM Team.
Key Note Speaker Bernard Richard, the British Columbia Representative for Children and Youth, made important remarks about breaking down the silos of mental health care for vulnerable young people.
Mr. Richard spoke about the goal of having one case manager who can advocate for a youth’s diverse needs. Too often vulnerable youth, particularly youth in care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, receive services through many different agencies. When services are not coordinated, youth can “fall through the cracks.”
Mr. Richard discussed the Report prepared by the Office of the Representative of Children and Youth titled “Broken Promises: Alex’s Story.” Alex Gervais was in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development when he jumped from a window in an Abbotsford Super 8 motel, where he had been living. He was only 18. The Report detailed that Mr. Gervais’ parents both suffered from mental illness; and, that as a young person Mr. Gervais’ life was de-stabilized from multiple moves to different foster homes. A link to the report can be found here.
The BCSS Victoria Reception was rounded out by remarks delivered by Cam Webster, a young man with lived experience of a schizophrenia diagnosis. Mr. Webster was a beneficiary of the BCSS Victoria programming. He is now working, attending post-secondary and facilitating workshops for BCSS Victoria.