CALL TO ACTION: Our Mental Health Act is Under Attack

The B.C. Mental Health Act, which is about the care and protection of citizens who suffer from serious mental illness, is now under attack. Please see the letter in The Vancouver Sun from B.C. Schizophrenia Society (BCSS), a copy of it can also be viewed on the BCSS website.

In his letter, BCSS President Dave Halikowski explains, “The purpose of the B.C. Mental Health Act is to help ill people receive the medical treatment they need and deserve so that they can regain their health.”

Due to the upcoming Charter Challenge to B.C.’s Mental Health Act—now is the time for B.C. Schizophrenia Society members and supporters to get involved.

There are many ways to get involved in fighting these unfair and harmful changes.

  1. Comment and respond to articles, letters and opinion pieces you see or hear supporting these harmful changes. Please email a link to the article and your response to the newspaper, radio station or report to so that we can track everyone’s response
  2. Write a letter to your MLA. Tell your political representatives the facts: the proposed changes to our Mental Health Act will be disastrous for B.C. citizens with serious mental illness, their families and health care professionals.

The following are some tips and suggestions we hope you might find useful in writing your letter.

  • Find contact information for your MLA at
  • In your letter, tell your MLA that B.C.’s Mental Health Act specifies the need for treatment of serious mental disorders, and therefore it is about the right to be well.
  • Include with your letter to your MLA David Halikowski’s letter in The Vancouver Sun. You can do this by simply including the BCSS letter as an attachment to your own letter and/or by providing a link to The Vancouver Sun article.
  • Let your MLA know (a) that you agree with the letter; (b) that you want to this important matter brought to the attention of government, and (c) that you’re asking your MLA to take action as your representative and to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
  • Identify yourself as a constituent (voter!) by including your full name and address. Keep it brief, but it is also more powerful if you can include a personal or professional reference. For example, it is helpful to identify your role—e.g., relative, friend, professional care provider of a person or persons with a serious mental illness, or someone whose own recovery is due to receiving timely medical treatment.
  • If you can incorporate some actual details of your own story into your direct message to your MLA, it will stand out and create a real impact.
  • Finish your letter by explaining how these changes will affect not just your personal situation, but also your political support. This may have a stronger impact than merely documenting your objection to the proposed changes.
  • In addition, please consider sending a similar letter to Hon. John Horgan, Premier; Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health; and Hon. Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

Remember—when we all speak together, we speak more loudly!

Further steps to consider:

  • Follow up your letter and ask what action has been taken. By regularly sending a letter on a two-week schedule, you can help prevent the issue from being ignored. Follow-up letters can be based on your first letter, reiterating points you made in that letter.
  • Document your responses. Email a copy of your letter to and help us in our collective efforts to stop the proposed changes to the B.C. Mental Health Act by creating a coherent force through our mutual public policy initiative.
  • Paper letters and emails are both useful when writing to your MLA. If you are emailing the letter and have the ability to do so—save it as a PDF, sign it and attach with a short “please see attached” email. A signed PDF may carry more weight. Similarly, if writing a paper letter, make sure you sign it and include your full address.

We hope that together we can convince the provincial government to keep our current Mental Health Act which truly benefits people with mental illness. Speaking up lets our government and representatives know that citizens are paying attention to policy reforms that will have tragic consequences.

There are many ways to work towards saving our B.C. Mental Health Act and this is one for you. Please email Jean Fong at for more information on writing a letter or anything related to BCSS public policy.