Generous man detained under Mental Health Act

Jim Day
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Bill MacNamara and June Bond pose for a photo with the their daughters Gabrielle (6 months) and Abigail (3). The couple received two $50 bills and two $5 coins randomly from a stranger.

Daughter claims police arrested her father because he gave away some extra money to strangers

A man reported to have given money away to strangers in Halifax last week was detained by police Thursday in Prince Edward Island under the Mental Health Act, says an RCMP spokeswoman.

Sgt. Leanne Butler told The Guardian police responded to a call for a wellness check at 1:30 p.m. Thursday for a mental health issue.

The officer determined the man should go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for further assessment. Butler would not comment on what led the officer to make this determination.

The man was brought in to the hospital immediately and remains in the mental health unit.

The man's daughter posted a photo of her father on Facebook to call attention to what she says has been unfair treatment by the hospital and the RCMP.

She said her father was driving home to Charlottetown from Halifax on Thursday after sharing "some extra money'' with people when he was arrested and taken to the hospital where he has been forced to take medication and was not informed of his rights by police.

Butler stresses the man was not arrested but rather detained under the Mental Health Act.

"It's not a criminal issue," says Butler.

His daughter does not see it that way. In a lengthy post on The Guardian's Facebook wall, she wrote, "He did nothing illegal, he was simply helping some people out. Since when did being a nice person make you end up in the hospital?

"They think he is sick and has mental issues but I know he does not," she says in the post.

A Halifax newspaper had earlier reported on the man in question passing out money to people, telling them to "thank God'' and pass the money along if they didn't need it.

June Bond and Bill MacNamara told Metro News in Halifax how a man walked up to them while they were sitting on their Dartmouth porch on March 18 and handed them two $50 bills and two $5 coins. 

“You hear of random acts of kindness but it’s usually a Tim Horton’s coffee … you don’t get $100,” Bond told the newspaper. “It came at a time that we needed it too.”

The province would not comment specifically on the case but did acknowledge the public's interest in the man's story is high.

Pam Trainor, executive director of acute care wtih mental health and addictions for Health P.E.I., issued a statement on the subject.

"We appreciate the seriousness of this situation and the impact on our patient and their family...however, due to patient confidentiality and privacy, we cannot provide specifics related the patient, why they are under our care or what kind of care they are receiving,'' Trainor said in the statement.

"It is important for the public to understand that patients are admitted to our hospitals, programs and/or health care services because they can benefit from the care that we provide. A patient is always admitted at the clinical recommendation of a physician who has met with and assessed the patient to determine the most appropriate medical care to help that patient. In the case of mental health patients who may be admitted involuntarily (as they were assessed by two physicians to be of harm to themselves or others), there is a process, guided by the P.E.I. Mental Health  Act, to contest admission that the patient has a right to pursue."

Trainor adds that staff work hard every day to "provide the best care possible to patients and we remain confident in their ability to do so safely to support patients and their loved ones."

The man's daughter has said the family is looking into legal representation for him.

With files from Metro News

Organizations: RCMP, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Metro News Queen Elizabetho Hospital

Geographic location: Halifax, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown Dartmouth

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Recent comments

  • Sweetie
    June 04, 2014 - 22:07

    I brought a complaint against police for putting me in a psych ward under the false pretense of mental illness. I was with them about 2 hours. No report was made by them because doctors who harmed me told them not to make one. They pretend they were going to investigate but only really wanted the information about what happened and then used it to cover up their own involvement and swept it under the rug.

  • Jade
    June 04, 2014 - 21:57

    They can also put you in a psych ward under the false pretense of mental illness if you are harmed by an ER doctor. They will pretend they do not know what is wrong with you and even tell police not to make a report. Then they can hide any damage or injuries you have as a result. This is what is going on here in NS. Persons being put into psych wards under the false pretense of mental illness to cover up malpractice.

  • Romeo
    March 26, 2014 - 15:00

    What's next: Handcuffs for using your manners

  • Stephen Avrington
    March 26, 2014 - 13:42

    Im interested in knowing why the elderly couple from someplace in Nova Scotia who gave away their entire $11,000,000.00 were not also arrested or put in a nuttery... Thought Canada was a free country and valued morality and good Christian Charity...

  • david
    March 26, 2014 - 02:21

    What a shame. I bet the PEI Gov,t is even breaking its own rules. Under the Mental Health Act there has to be a displayed in all Mental Health units, a notice on the meaning of a voluntary and involuntary patient. When I visited a friend there no notice was observed. I think that they are scared to post this notice so people know their rights.

  • Amanda
    March 25, 2014 - 22:01

    Where is the mans right to some privacy? Guardian, this is a new low(almost). How dare you run a story about someone admitted to a mental hospital and about a 16year old minor's rant on facebok. So discusted.

    • anthony
      March 26, 2014 - 17:04

      from the sound of the article i think the man, or at least his next of kin (seeing as how he's in a mental hospital at the minute and can't really speak for himself) wanted this article to be published. i believe the idea of the article is also to bring light to the situation and pressure the police, who so far have been rather non-forthcoming about information, into providing further information. "how does giving out money = mental health issue?" "was he even hospitalized because he gave out money or was there another issue going on here?" "who reported him or felt the need for police involvement in this matter?" etc etc

  • lol
    March 25, 2014 - 11:31

    Don't worry everyone, God will save him. Why even bother making a stink out of this. If I was the family I would surely keep quiet until I knew what was going on rather than make a big stink and draw attention to his obvious mental health issues.

    • Island Atheist
      March 26, 2014 - 05:54

      Which is your objection? Giving a relatively small amount of money to someone who seems to have had need of it, or the mention of God?

  • Not on PEI
    March 25, 2014 - 11:21

    There is no Mental Health Care on PEI only narcotics. As far as the cops go ask all the bruised people or people who have been robbed and nothing is ever done. What is the unsolved crime rate on PEI where this gentleman is a priority.

    • Served You`
      March 25, 2014 - 15:43

      http://www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/m-06_1.pdf Your silly.....

  • think about it
    March 25, 2014 - 08:12

    Guardian, the man had a psychiatric assessment by a medical doctor, who determined he does have mental health issues, committed him to a hospital and who is treating him with medication. Why do you need to make it sound like the police were abusive? Sounds to me like they did exactly what was required and necessary to help this poor man. From the slant in this story, it seems that you think this guys daughter is more qualified to assess someone's mental state than a trained medical doctor... things that make you go hmmmm.

  • open eyed
    March 25, 2014 - 07:59

    Obviously there's a lot more to this story, but what a sensational headline... makes the police and medical system sound so oppressive and abusive!..... For reasons that the RCMP can't disclose because they must protect this the man's right to privacy, they took this fellow to the hospital where a doctor assessed his psychiatric state. The doctor obviously concluded that this fellow does have psychiatric issues because the doctor committed him to stay in the hospital under authority of the Mental Health Act, and the doctor saw fit to prescribe medication to help him (to quote his daughter, "taken to the hospital where he has been forced to take medication"). That's not done randomly, lightly or easily folks. Clearly, daughter is in denial. It can be difficult to accept that your parent (or anyone you love) has psychiatric issues. There is such social stigma attached. Hopefully this fellow gets the care and help that he needs so he can be well again. This story only serves to demonstrate why we need to break down those silly barriers that put such stigma on people who need to seek help for mental health issues.

  • w kennedy
    March 25, 2014 - 00:03

    "two $5 coins." from article? Five? dollar coins? Remember as this is more of an art than a science the patient must agree to be "treated" to be ethical.

    • fyi
      March 25, 2014 - 12:17

      the law says that a person can be committed Involuntarily if assessed by 2 doctors who concur that he/she may be a risk to themselves or others. Sounds like that's what happened here. Too bad whoever ran to the media with this story failed to think it through. Poor guy deserves some privacy here with his issues. Personally, I don't think it's any of my business if he's mentally ill and I don't care to read about it.

  • Rob Chiasson
    March 24, 2014 - 22:28

    Unreal someone should lock up the arresting officers as well the doctor. More often than not we see the police flexing their muscles and no longer do they care. Over stretched and under paid does not give them the right to do something like this to someone so kind I and my entire staff as well family are completely outraged and want answers please continue to follow the story. I help homeless people all the time and such an act of kindness should be rewarded not punished no matter what their condition. We are taking about a family man who has a huge heart and the gift of giving.... Someone should lock up the officers, sedate them and throw away the key. Who is mentally unstable her the officers and doctor that detained them or the kind man who gave his last 50.00 buck. Not only should they be ashamed their families should disown them for such an unbelievable travesty. People are sick of this type of nasty behavior from our City Police Departments - As a man with out a criminal record can personally attest that I myself have had my own experience with the nasty behavior of the City Police. I intend to speak up and I hope more people do as well. Who do they answer to? R.C. age 43

    • Looking forward to you speaking up
      March 25, 2014 - 10:53

      Rob Chiasson..the City Police are "nasty"???they are not even mentioned in the article? You seem proud of your "non criminal record".... it obivously it gives you the training and background to assess all police officers ..and to instruct their familes to "disown"them...."The medical staff at the QEH,and the police would welcome your expertise I am sure" As a man without a criminal record I can personally attest that I myself have had my own experience with the nasty behavior of the City Police".....WE incourage you to "speak up" for the down trodden and criminals of our fine province who alledgely run afoul of the law of the land, it sounds like you will make a fine spokesperson.You think it is fine to take advantage of a person who is having mental health issues and watch them give money away ..not even knowing their circumstances ..when indeed they indeed could use that money themselves........to take advantage of them is borderline "criminal behviour"......so taking the money is just fine to you.Looking forward to you taking up the mantle to speak up and protect all those poor souls who the police are nasty to.........and making them "accountable" We need more people like you out there.!!!!

  • Are You Kidding Me?
    March 24, 2014 - 20:12

    So the cops detained the guy under the mental health act. Seriously? I'm sure the cops have plenty to do other than drive some good samaritan to the hospital because he's giving out dollars.! Geez. Wait, what? The guy has to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having some sort of of problem before he is admitted to hospital? Facists!! What kind of health care system is this that protects people from doing something cra ..., er, stupi ..., er, ... never mind. I think I'll run for mayor of Toronto.

  • Do the right thing
    March 24, 2014 - 19:53

    Do the right thing and give the money back if you can. He's not in his right mind and may have given away his life savings.

  • Mental Health
    March 24, 2014 - 19:18

    Isn't it a cruel world a person just cannot do good deeds for people and get this kind of treatment, there is a few I will not name nam es,they should be in a mental ward and the keys thrown into the Ch,town Harbour for giving away our taxpayers money time and time again and still being labeled as fit for society.

  • Jim
    March 24, 2014 - 18:43

    So they can stop you and throw you into a Mental Institution for an evaluation against your will? Because you shared your money with people . I will rember this one the next time The Police Association or The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is doing their fundraising.

    • Take a second to think
      March 25, 2014 - 10:02

      Why would you blame either the Police Association or the QEH for following procedures laid out in the provincially legislated Mental Health Act? They didn't write it. Furthermore, the Police Association deals with municipal officers, not the RCMP. Talk about misguided blame.

  • Must be another side
    March 24, 2014 - 17:29

    A man goes around giving people cash, saying God told him to, and no one thinks this is a tad outrageous? He gave away collectible coins. If he wanted to just give away his money, he could have made a donation to local food banks, homeless shelters, those who do not have a roof over their heads. If I was his family I would be concerned as to why he was giving away his wealth. Why not secure it for his children's future. I think there is way more to this story.

    • Here's A Thought
      March 25, 2014 - 06:51

      Some people are not as attached to money and material things as you seem to be. His family, if you read the article you would know, does not believe he should be detained. When did it become insane to be giving? That's a pretty sad reflection on society.

  • Listen
    March 24, 2014 - 17:25

    I was listening to 97.5 fm Halifax today and this gentleman was subjected to an assessment in Halifax, wen the police detained him. The physician deemed him not a threat and released him. This was stated by a Halifax police officer on the Rick Howe show.

  • Bob Frelick
    March 24, 2014 - 16:43

    We have had dealings with the Mental Health Association, what it led to was the failure to give help to my step-son when he asked for it. Instead he was prescribed 4 types of medications, 3 of which are well known to cause suicidal tendencies. On July 18, 2013 I lost my step-son to suicide. The College of Psychologists should be scrapped, in my opinion they are nothing less than murderers and drug dealers!

  • ?
    March 24, 2014 - 15:56

    Has anyone thought that perhaps you are only hearing one side of the story?

  • Kim Gallant
    March 24, 2014 - 15:55

    unfkin believable. When are people gonna see that sometimes it makes us feel good to GIVE to others in NEED!!!!!!Not even if we ourselves can't afford it...and we wonder...

  • Generous Polition
    March 24, 2014 - 15:48

    Shows just how the system works on Pei

  • Margo
    March 24, 2014 - 15:40

    I think there's a lot more to this story that the public aren't aware of yet. To REgular mom...just because his daughter says he has no mental illness doesn't mean much. She could be lying, ill herself, in denial, or not know! I hope there's a gd ending to this story but I think people are criticizing the system and don't know the details.

  • Not crazy yet
    March 24, 2014 - 15:37

    Has it occurred to anyone that one sign of a person about to commit suicide is to give away they're belongings? These coins aren't something you just give to strangers on the street normally, but do leave to family in your will, or give to family as a gift. For his sake, his own safety & well being is being looked into. Many people commit suicide without anyone realizing what they were planning. I hope this man is well, and soon released. However, If there is something other than just kindness behind his gift giving, I'm glad he had someone who cared enough to have him checked on. Kids ( no matter how old they are ) don't always know what their parents feel or what they maybe going through. Parents don't always tell their children everything, and there is still a stigma around depression and mental illness. If you were going to harm yourself, or were severely depressed, would you tell your kids or would you put on a Happy face and pretend life is fine? All the best to this man and his family. I hope everything is resolved soon. Be grateful someone cared enough to look into this. If nobody cared and something had happened to him, you would have been asking yourselves " how did we not see it? " for a very long time.

    • namaste
      March 24, 2014 - 17:16

      Excellent points.

    • Angela Walker
      March 24, 2014 - 17:45

      Well said.

    • About that one
      March 25, 2014 - 02:30

      I would agree with you however he was assessed in Halifax earlier that day after giving everything out and was deemed not a threat. Also considering he was driving back to his place of residence when the pull over occurred? I think maybe he just wanted to do a nice thing. Has society gone that far down hill that when someone does something nice we automatically assume there is a sinister motive behind it?

    • Head Shaker
      March 25, 2014 - 17:51

      Cool. Lets have Revenue Canada send a list of everyone who donates money to a charity to the Dept of Health so they can put them on suicide watch.

  • Things that make you go hmmmm
    March 24, 2014 - 15:35

    Something is missing in this story. It's great that this gentleman was able to give away money to people. Where did it come from? Police were called for a mental health assessment. The police can't release the details why they were called, but someone somewhere called the police, perhaps out of concern. Was this gentleman talking or acting erratically that may have lead someone to think he is schizophrenic or perhaps having a nervous breakdown? Maybe someone saw he was giving away all this money and was concerned he was giving away money and possessions before he killed himself. If a random stranger handed me $100 for no apparent reason I would automatically think something is up. His daughter says he doesn't have mental health issues, maybe he doesn't, but maybe he's been hiding it for years. People are good at keeping secrets. And maybe the man is innocent in all of this. When I read the article I thought there's more to the story. Just my opinion, try not to jump down my throat for writing it.

  • Ed Carrier
    March 24, 2014 - 15:20

    So........now instead of giving his money to the needy he will be forced to give it to lawyers. What a wonderful world this has become.

  • DAVE
    March 24, 2014 - 14:47

    Sure does not makes sence to lockup someone like this when a dangerous person comes into unit 9 and is release after a 1/2 hour. There should be a closer look at the way things are handles at the QEH.

  • trazzam
    March 24, 2014 - 14:44

    really if a person passes out some money u are considered to have mental problems hahahaha i think they should be arresting and taking more dangerous ppl to the mental hospital for there is a lot worse out there happening then this…..down right pathetic if u ask me

  • REgular Mom
    March 24, 2014 - 14:39

    Why is this man being detained for being generous? ?? His daughter has confirmed he has no mental illness. I was once "detained" in a mental illness ward and I know FOR A FACT that none of the staff llisten to what you say. They treat you like you are totally "out to lunch". It is digusting how people are treated in these "units". I am not insane and I am very sure this gentleman is not either. I do know that every time he says something that is not in line with what they think he should be saying keeps him there longer. It's truly digusting that you have to "play their game" in order to get out!!

    • Hes-not-the-first
      March 24, 2014 - 16:15

      you couldn't be more right, been there been through it. They treat every patient as a child, the quickest way out is to tell them as little as possible and act like a happy little robot, I was given some medication called ativan to calm me down after a car accident even though I was not worked up or anything, and spent a day and a half in a hospital bed hallucinating and confused only to be submitted to their mental ward for 3 weeks for refusing to take the medication afterwards and the only way out was agreeing to take some other medication which I felt 0 effects from and was to agree to take after leaving the hospital which I immediately stopped after finally being discharged, some of the staff are simply nice RNs but no they probably aren't going to take anything you say seriously simply because a person was admitted in there and is on medication the psychiatrists are the problem imo they are nothing but stuck up pretentious pill pushers being paid to create statistics out of people. good for nothing is what this place is at best a temporary detox clinic for addicts is all it truly is and its hardly any good for that...

  • Paul Gaudet
    March 24, 2014 - 14:27

    I suppose if he did this at Christmas it would be considered a random act of kindness and he would be commended for it. I have seen first hand how this small jester brightens a persons day.

  • Mary M
    March 24, 2014 - 14:25

    Since when can someone be committed for a 28-day mental health assessment when they have done nothing illegal, nothing wrong and are no threat to themselves or anyone else? There is a message here and it isn't a good one if we want a caring society.

    • rod
      March 24, 2014 - 14:58

      Did you stop to think that perhaps the reason why he is being held is that he is a threat to himself? For all we know they could have been called to the confederation bridge on his drive back where he was about to jump.

    • What?
      March 24, 2014 - 16:09

      Rod, Where did you get that piece of information? I think you're making things up now. Maybe they should haul you in for your an assessment. Pure insanity in our social institutions!!!

  • Slack Jawed
    March 24, 2014 - 14:21

    $5 Canadian coins?! Don't spend them as cash . . they're worth close to $30 a piece to a collector.

    • Bernie
      March 24, 2014 - 22:54

      The people interviewed in the Halifax paper said they were going to frame the coins as a remembrance of his kindness

  • Wonderful World
    March 24, 2014 - 14:11

    What a wonderful place we live in when they can toss someone into a Mental Ward for being generous with his own money. We need more people like Rick !!

  • ummm
    March 24, 2014 - 14:06

    This is terrifying...

  • Big Buck
    March 24, 2014 - 13:36

    Two fifties is one thing, only a mere $100, that'll get a decent meal somewhere these days;but 2 x $5 coins....maybe American $5 gold! Only a few thou there, generosity at its finest...