VIDEO: Okanagan woman begs for help after mental health and legal systems fail her family | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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VIDEO: Okanagan woman begs for help after mental health and legal systems fail her family

Shilo and Tayler Verhaegen.
Image Credit: Contributed
July 21, 2017 - 4:44 PM

KELOWNA - A Kelowna woman is reaching out for help after over two years of fighting the mental health and legal system on behalf of her brother.

Shilo Verhaegen's brother Tayler was arrested in December, 2014 for robbing a Bank of Montreal in Kelowna. Since then, she says it has been a fight with the mental health and legal systems to get her brother the help he needs.

“I feel like I’ve reached out to every possible person I could possibly reach out to, to ask for help,” Verhaegen said in a Facebook video she posted Thursday, July 20. “My brother has a mental health issue and the fact that the mental health system is completely letting him down right before my eyes, I don’t really know what to do next.”

So far, the video has garnered 5,600 views.

Finding legal aid for Tayler has proven difficult. A previous lawyer dropped his case and finding new legal council was a challenge. 

“The level of service that my family has been receiving since 2014 is somewhat really... questionable and I need help as in what to do because it seems like the bottom line is it’s coming just down to money,” Verhaegen says in the video.

Verhaegen reaches out for guidance as what steps to take next in order to get her brother the help she says he needs.

Currently, Tayler is awaiting his robbery trial start in August, but after breaching the conditions of his parole, he is now also charged with uttering threats.

“Our mental health system is absolutely broken and there needs to be a new way to be able to communicate - I feel like a prisoner,” Verhaegen says. “I feel completely failed, let down, lied to actually, and I’m at my wits end, so if anybody has any guidance or a possible solution, I’m completely open to every idea that comes my way, because right now the government has completely let my family down and we need help.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 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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