Shana Harris-Morris was killed Feb. 4. (GoFundMe photo)

Family of Surrey homicide victim calling for mental health care improvements

National advocacy groups looking to unite

The uncle of a woman who was victim of homicide earlier this year is looking to build a coalition of advocacy groups to call for changes to the policies, procedures, regulations, and legislation around child welfare and mental health.

On Feb. 4, Surrey RCMP responded to reports of shots heard in the 10800-block of 139A Street at approximately 7:30 a.m.

A man was found with non-life-threatening injuries, while Shana Harris-Morris was found in “grave condition.” Both were transported to hospital where Harris-Morris died.

While her uncle Ryan Morris, from Chilliwack, said he doesn’t know what led to his niece’s death, he acknowledged that she struggled with an opioid addiction. On many occasions, Morris said, he offered to find her help.

In a news release issued March 13, Morris said independent advocacy groups, including ‘I Am Shana’s Voice,’ are working together to help change how government handles mental health and child welfare.

“It appears that this current structure seems to guide all of us that are asking for and seeking help, in a complete circle,” Morris wrote. “This needs to change immediately. Every minute that these failures get ignored, someone dies from an overdose, suicide, or in the form of a violent act perpetrated against the victim. We are all tired of this. We cannot accept the Band-Aid solutions that are being suggested from our leaders. We need to open their eyes.”

RELATED: ‘I’ll remember the hugs:’ Family reflects on life of Surrey shooting victim

Morris said he has been networking with advocacy groups across the province and country. They have begun discussions about uniting as a coalition to effectively advocate for change, he added.

“I believe it to be a much better and more effective strategy. Rather than having 1,000 groups with 100 members, we are aiming to have a group of 100,000+ members. This (is) so our leaders will hear clearly what needs to be changed in our system.”

Morris said he’s been asked to join a public committee that’s being tasked with giving suggestions for amending the police act in terms of how it deals with mental illness cases.

“I have reached out to the RCMP to help me in this matter. These are the individuals tasked with dealing with our mentally ill. I would like to know their thoughts on what they feel needs to change. If you want to ask how the battle is going, you need to speak to the soldiers,” Morris said.

Following Harris-Morris’ death, her family started a GoFundMe to raise funds for a headstone. As of Sunday morning, the fundraiser had collected $7,195.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read