It’s one of the few decisions Destiny Gettings’ mother said she had the right to make. It also happened to be one of the hardest.
“Destiny is under the ministry care for 45 days, at this point under a temporary custody order. She’s in a group home,” Jackie Gettings said.
This came after Jackie was told she could not force the 15-year-old to be stabilized in hospital.
Despite fears the drug-addicted, mentally-ill teen was suicidal, Destiny twice convinced psychiatric staff she should be discharged.
“I know what my daughter needs,” Jackie said. “Because of their legislation and their rules I can’t get her that help.”
READ MORE: Fraser Valley mother desperate to get help for troubled teen daughter
Now, another B.C. parent says the system needs to change.
Rick Falcon lost his daughter Adriana in 2013 after a brutal rape led her into a downward spiral of substance abuse.
“Everything we ran into was just voluntary. There was nothing involuntary that I think, ultimately would have saved her life.”
A new documentary tells Adriana’s story and highlights her father’s efforts to get her help.
“They did everything they possibly could and in the end she checked herself out of a mental health facility because at 14 years old she had the right to do so. And I say in the documentary Rick did not have the right to save her,” filmmaker Kimothy Walker said.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development writes:
“Going beyond the limitations of currently available options…Would require the enactment of specialized legislation authorizing the involuntary detainment of youth. The potential costs and benefits of such an approach must be carefully considered.”
“If you don’t have the beds, you can’t keep them,” Sue Hammell, NDP Critic for Mental Health, said.
“If we had the beds, they would probably be held longer.”
Falcon says any promise of beds must come with a change in policy.
“I don’t think all the beds in the world are going to make a difference if they don’t have that in place,” he said.
Jackie Gettings says Falcon’s story hits close to home.
“It’s almost like a mirror,” she said. “Seeing that Adriana didn’t make it through is something I live in fear of every single day.”
-With files from John Hua