The behaviour we have seen in the video recently released of UBCO student Mona Wang being forcibly removed from her apartment during a wellness check is absolutely unacceptable and certainly not the level of service anyone should receive in crisis.

The system is broken. We need to have these tough conversations and do things differently and we must recognize that racism, systemic injustice, the ongoing effects of colonization, and inequitable access to health resources are all risks that lead up to crisis interaction.

We need our residents to be supported with the appropriate tools in times of Mental Health and Substance Use crisis.

I grew up in an RCMP household. I know the outcomes of systemic underfunding of mental health and substance use services and the results can bring devastating outcomes for both members and residents. Police are not MHSU responders, members are trained to enforce law and order. There is friction between how they see themselves, how they are trained and what they are actually having to do.

There needs to be a rework of the system and the way we view community safety. By creating a multi-agency integrated crisis intervention response that supports individuals and first responders, we can begin to appropriately respond.

As leaders, we must challenge the status quo. If we do what we’ve always done, we will get what we’ve always got. We can find ways of non-violent crisis intervention informed by best practices and lived experiences.

We can’t rely on a rigid system when transformational change is required in our community. It is good to see action being committed to already both from the province and RCMP. There is still more work to do. This conversation must continue and as a community.

It’s time we prioritize and fund the appropriate services to support everyone. First responders and residents alike. Let’s continue to have with these tough conversations and work together to create change so rallies like this can be part of history.

And lastly to Mona. We see you. We hear you. And we are with you.