Tiffaney Daniels’ believes her father would be alive if there was help available while suffering from a mental health crisis.
A highly successful survey engineer, her father had schizophrenia.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia is a “chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality.”
Hearing voices, visual hallucinations, delusional thinking—these are a few of the symptoms that people with schizophrenia experience.
Tiffaney became separated from her father as a baby due to his unpredictable behavior resulting from his schizophrenia symptoms. In the above video, she recounts how her father tried to “direct traffic in downtown Vancouver” in a cross-country attempt to reconnect with her.
Already diagnosed, her father reached out for medical help while suffering from his symptoms. He was told to “come back in a couple of days” when his regular doctor was in. Heartbreakingly, he committed suicide shortly after.
There is a strong link between suicide and schizophrenia. Research suggests that 5 to 13% of patients with schizophrenia die from suicide.
ICCS and Schizophrenia
At Island Crisis Care Society, we regularly work with clients who have schizophrenia. Visitors to Crescent House, Safe Habour House, Hirst House, and Samaritan House often display symptoms associated with the disorder.
At the moment, Samaritan House (our front line, emergency shelter facility) is overcrowded and has an average occupancy rate of over 100%. Clients in the shelter sleep in a small room filled with bunk beds. Or, when the bunk beds are full, clients sleep on mats on the floor. These conditions are far from optimal.
Imagine having schizophrenia and suffering from halluincations while trying to sleep in a small room full of strangers. Conversely, imagine trying to sleep in a small room full of strangers while experiencing the surprising and disrupting behavior of a person with schizophrenia trying to sleep on a bed next to you.
We are currently planning to double the size of the 100-year-old Samaritan House building through our More Room for Hope campaign which, among a long list of benefits, would greatly reduce crowding.
In addition, Samaritan House lacks important space for access to services. Expanding Samaritan House would mean ample space for professionals and community organizations to privately meet with clients.
For clients in the midst of a mental health crisis like Tiffaney’s father, these improvements could ultimately be lifesaving.
Donate to our More Room for Hope here.