Those who know 49-year-old Raymond Murphy, of Cedar near Nanaimo, say he’s a warm and likeable guy who’s been on a downward spiral of drug use and crime recently. They say he poses a danger to the community and himself and they are begging an institution to hold him.
He’s had 28 interactions with police already this month.
His ex-wife says Murphy has serious mental health issues and she’s worried.
“I never wanted to embarrass or bash him that’s not what this is about,” said Kelly Adam.
“It’s about raising awareness for the system that is so failing and he is one of so many. This is an epidemic, a crisis that’s going on and these people are falling through the cracks but it’s the families that are suffering so bad.”
Adam says during the month he’s been beaten and on Feb. 8., he was arrested when neighbours tore down a makeshift campsite and then three days later an incident led to three more charges, including assaulting a police officer.
And there have been other disturbing incidents.
“He showed up at his own daughter’s house, just completely not there. He even pulled out a gun on her. It turned out to be fake but we didn’t know that at the time,” said Murphy.
“He needs to be locked up for his safety and others safety,” said his son Jake Murphy.
Adam says family members have brought Murphy to the hospital to be committed to the psych ward multiple times in the past week without success.
“The hospital says no we can’t keep him. This isn’t mental health this is substance abuse while the cops say no this isn’t substance abuse this is mental health. Nobody wants him. They keep letting him out in the street,” says Adam.
Murphy says he doesn’t think he has a mental health issue but admitted he does use meth.
“The addiction I’m battling is love cause I need it beside me like a little puppy,” he said.
Nanaimo’s mayor says the province needs to create a supportive institution for people like Murphy.
“This is exactly the kind of extreme case I’ve been talking about,” said Leonard Krog.
“You can call it an institution, you can call it a full care residential facility. I don’t care what you call it. No one should be living that kind of life on our streets creating mayhem, causing incredible pain and suffering to themselves.”
“I agree absolutely,” said Adam.
“When people are so far gone that they can’t help themselves. We need to help them and not just throw them to the community to beat the crap out of them or like they say feed to the meat grinder or why don’t they just OD already? Come on aren’t we all better than that? Can’t we help these people?”
On Tuesday afternoon, paramedics again brought Murphy to the hospital. Police later arrested him for failing to appear in court.
Then Wednesday morning, he was again released on bail.
BC’s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions said in a statement Wednesday, “We recognize that there are challenging issues around the mental institutional model that was previously in place. A decision was made many years ago to shut those kinds of places down across the country and move more care into the community. Unfortunately, at the time, those community supports did not materialize. That’s been hard on people and on communities.
We’re working with all partners to build a system of care that can meet these complex needs so that families have peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving effective, compassionate care.
Expanding access to quality care, balanced with the need for a continuum of services that respects the rights of the individual continues to be a primary focus for the work we’re doing in partnership with families, people with lived experience, health care professionals and more.”
Last week a Regina mother who was visiting her son in Greater Victoria also called for an institution for those with severe mental health issues.