Kamloops mom says justice system not equipped to handle son's addiction, mental health issues | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops mom says justice system not equipped to handle son's addiction, mental health issues

Anna Haldorson and her son Kyle are pictured in a photo from 2011. Haldorson says her son has been struggling with drug addiction and mental health issues for years.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Anna Haldorson

The mother of a well-known offender in Kamloops calls a recent judgement that released her son back onto the streets a failure.

Anna Haldorson has been advocating for her son Kyle to be held and treated for mental health issues for years, but yet again, he's been released and given probation after facing three criminal charges.

Kyle Haldorson has been off and on the streets of Kamloops for years while living with addictions and mental health issues, and his family has fewer options to intervene as he gets older.

Kyle turned 29 on Dec. 23.

READ MORE: A mother battles the system as her Kamloops son fights drug addiction, mental illness

"I've run out of all resources. Apparently no one likes me," Ana said. "He needs to be in a facility, but he doesn't need to be in jail."

Kyle appeared in Kamloops Provincial Court on Dec. 21 to plead guilty to charges of an assault, uttering threats and theft under $5,000.

He appeared on video while still in custody at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, but he won't serve any more time in prison. He was, instead, was given credit for time already served along with a 12-month probation order.

One of Kyle's probation conditions includes an order to submit to a psychiatric assessment or treatment, which will be directed by his probation officer.

The charges stemmed from two separate incidents in August, one involving Haldorson where he threatened a homeowner who asked him to leave the property on Aug. 4. The other involved a report of a stolen bike, which was returned to the owner before police arrived at the scene, according to a Kamloops RCMP report from Aug. 4.

Haldorson has circulated in and out of Kamloops courts on multiple charges since 2018, and the cycle is not helping him deal with his mental health issues in a healthy way that also holds him accountable for his actions, his mother Anna said.

"It's not about being a bleeding heart. It's about doing the right thing in order to get Kyle the right help," she said. "I've heard from professionals - psychiatrists - who just don't want to deal with him... Therefore, they just wash and repeat."

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She has attempted to have her son apprehended under the Mental Health Act and held somewhere for treatment, but she said there are few facilities in the province equipped to support him, while law enforcement and health authorities also tell her that the law does not permit them to hold someone for mental health reasons.

To have him involuntarily admitted to a facility is a high bar to leap, but to Anna, her son's lifestyle, off and on the streets of Kamloops, will become increasingly more dangerous unless sweeping actions are taken.

"They're teaching him that they're gonna slap him on the wrist and he'll get out again," she said. "There's times he's come out and said he's afraid of dying on the streets."

Anna no longer lives in Kamloops, but she visits her son when she gets the chance. She was only aware of Kyle's most recent hearing by checking court records online.

Her daughter recently had a child and Kyle is now and uncle, but Anna worries that Kyle will be estranged from the family as long as his illnesses remain under-treated and he won't have the chance to meet his niece.

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To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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