B.C. Premier John Horgan spoke on Thursday about the need for more complex care for those with mental health issues, after a UBCO security guard was killed on the job on Feb. 26.
Harmandeep Kaur was assaulted just before 6 a.m. by another employee of the university. The man was arrested shortly after, and held in hospital due to his mental health.
Kaur was pronounced dead two days later.
“I want to convey my deepest condolences to the family of the young woman who lost her life while at work,” said Horgan. “That is not something that any family should have to experience, and I can’t imagine, quite frankly, the horror they are going through right now.”
Horgan went on to acknowledge that the over two years of living under a pandemic has led to an uptick in mental health challenges, leading to a rise in street violence.
To combat this, Horgan said that more physical care homes are needed for those battling their mental health.
“We’re working with law enforcement, we’re working with communities, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions is doing what she can to provide comprehensive and complex care for those who, quite frankly, shouldn’t be in the community. They should be getting 24-hour care.
“These are issues that have been discussed for a number of years, and I think that it is high time that we started building that complex care so that we can house those individuals that have serious mental health challenges. Not in an incarcerated way, but in a way that they are getting the care that they need. I think the public supports that.”
To clarify, Horgan added that he does not believe that these problems are strictly in the Kelowna area, but rather in all of British Columbia.
“I do believe the problem is not confined to the Okanagan. In fact, it’s in communities right across B.C.”