LETTER: Prioritize youth mental health over private boating


Re: Youth drug program imperilled by lack of dock space (News, Feb. 23)

I am writing to address a community crisis that requires the immediate attention of Sooke citizens.

We are facing a choice between providing desperately needed care for our youth or allowing private boat owners to use valuable dock space. The therapeutic program run by Horizons Unbound is in danger of being shut down without access to wharfage, and we must prioritize the needs of our youth over the convenience of a few boat owners.

As someone who has worked in hospital and university departments, I understand the importance of finding solutions when demand exceeds supply.

However, when it comes to treating mental illness in youth, we cannot afford to take a chance. The human brain is the most complex organ of the body, and treating a child’s mental illness is one of the most delicate and difficult tasks in medicine. Sadly, our society has consistently underfunded this critical area of care.

I have done extensive research on ADHD and autism and understand the complexity of providing proper treatment. I also have experience running youth programs on ships and know the value of Horizons Unbound’s program.

The ship provides semi-private berths for students and crew, sailing rig innovations, rowing and sailing dinghies, and instruction in celestial navigation. It is the best program of its kind and is run by an experienced skipper.

I urge the group running the dock to prioritize the needs of our youth over private boat owners.

The Horizons Unbound program is essential to the mental health of our community’s youth, and we cannot afford to lose it. I hope the growing support for this program will convince the group to make the appropriate decision and provide the necessary dock space.

Philip Ney, MD



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