Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/8/2014 (962 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The death of Andrew "Andy" Baryluk during a standoff with Winnipeg police at a Stella Avenue home -- eventually ruled a suicide -- prompted an online discussion about mental-health issues.
The sad fact is, no one knows what to do. Are more mental-health workers required? That is likely, but what if even they do not know what to do?
The large problem with mental health is the continuum never ends. What is a trigger for one person is not a trigger for others. Even for individuals suffering issues, one day a trigger will be benign, while the next it will blow everything up. I am not sure one million mental-health workers could solve that.
Yes, there needs to be a different way, but damned if I know what it is.
I will not hold the police to account for things going bad here. They have to protect themselves and the rest of us from harm.
Very, very sad. So is the lack of support for people who need the mental-health treatment that is so often not available. The province seems more interested in buying votes than resolving this. Makes me wonder how many of the homeless I see every morning on the way to work could be productive members of society if given some more support.
It doesn't matter how many mental-health workers there are. If Andy felt he didn't have a problem, he isn't going to go and see a mental-health worker. You will never have this problem go away, but there are things that can be done do to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.
The first step isn't getting more mental-health workers -- the first step is creating a new balance that protects the rights of the individual (the mental-health patient) and society. Things need to change that would have allowed Andy's family to do something to get the help needed. Too often, if the person doesn't want to go and get the help they need, and as long as they aren't a danger to themselves or others at that point, you can't do anything about it.
By the time they become a danger to themselves or others, it is often too late. Politicians need to stand up for society as a whole and change legislation so people who need help will get it, even if at the time they think they don't.
Of course, once those changes are made, then right away more front-line mental-health workers need to be added ASAP.
I agree more psychiatric training would benefit our police, but am worried it could go too far. I would rather our crime fighters had extra training in crime prevention, which is what they are suited for. In this incident, they had to protect the public from an armed man with reported psychiatric issues. That is their job, and they did it well.
-- Slim G
This is a tragic incident. Unfortunately, until mental illness is treated like a disease much like other medical disorders, real change and help will be slow in coming. There needs to be more systems in place for people with mental-health issues to get help in a more timely fashion.