Project seeks input from British Columbians living with brain injuries

Cst. Gerry Breese. (

British Columbians living with concurrent brain injuries and mental health and substance use challenges, as well as their families, will soon be able to provide input about the type of care they want and need to help them on their pathway to healing and hope.

Friday, June 19, is the National Day of Collaboration for Brain Injury Services and Supports, and the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions is providing $35,000 in grant funding to the Constable Gerald Breese Centre for Traumatic Life Losses.

The centre serves people and families in B.C. who have suffered a catastrophic loss through death, injury or other life-altering events.

“It is a heartbreaking reality that some people are left with life-changing brain injuries after surviving an overdose, and many struggle to find the supports they need,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “That’s why, as B.C. continues to grapple with two public health emergencies, I’m really pleased that we can support the centre to expand its outstanding work to help people living with a traumatic brain injury and their families.”

The centre will use the funding for its BC Heads Together Think Tanks project.

As part of the project, an interactive website will be launched at the end of August and a series of virtual events will take place between October and November.

The purpose of the project is to gather input from communities, health authorities, brain injury associations, family members and people living with brain injuries throughout the province.

The centre will use the input to draft a plan and recommendations to improve brain injury rehabilitation and community supports for people living with brain injury and mental health and substance use challenges in B.C.

“Having the opportunity to address the intersections of mental health, addictions and brain injury in a meaningful way is a major step forward in the brain injury community,” said Janelle Breese Biagioni, CEO and founder, Constable Gerald Breese Centre for Traumatic Life Losses.

“The BC Heads Together Think Tanks project will provide an avenue for the collective voices of British Columbians to work collaboratively with our government on this important issue.”

Constable Gerry Breese was a 17 year veteran with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. On May 19, 1990 he was struck by a car while operating his police motorcycle when responding to a critical incident.

He sustained a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for four days. Cst. Breese returned home after three weeks and struggled with challenges in his personality and ability to live life as he had prior to being injured.

Sadly, he died suddenly at home five months later. His wife, Janelle, has dedicated the past 28 years to raising their daughters and serving families and individuals who have suffered a catastrophic injury or a death in their family.

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