The predictable, preventable death
of Chloe Grace Highley

Growing up in Penticton, Chloe Highley was a bubbly kid who loved
Harry Potter, roadtrips and slushies.

But as she grew into a teenager, she began to withdraw from the world.
Her parents say she struggled with anxiety, depression, an eating disorder,
and eventually, drugs.  

As her life spiralled out of control, Tricia and Danny Highley tried desperately
to get help through BC's health care system. That help never came.

On April 26th, 2015, Chloe Highley died of an accidental heroin overdose.
She was 18.

"We had to fight and claw and beg..."
-Tricia Highley, mother

The CBC's Chris Walker sat down with Danny and Tricia Highley
two days before their daughter's funeral.

"We don't cancel intakes."
-Dr. Jana Davidson,
BC Children's Hospital

The Highleys told us that, at the last minute,
BC Children's Hospital cancelled Chloe's appointment.
CBC reporter Brady Strachan spoke with Dr. Jana Davidson,
the head of child psychiatry at the hospital.

"It's a story we've heard several times."
-Mike Gawliuk,
Canadian Mental Health Association

The Canadian Mental Health Association says funding for youth mental health
in BC is not keeping up with demand.
We spoke with the Mike Gawliuk, Director of Service Delivery with the CMHA.

"This is not a political issue."
-Jane Thornthwaite,
Parliamentary Secretary for Child Mental Health

During the week this series aired, a BC government committee started
public hearings into youth mental health.
Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite is the head of that committee,
and the parliamentary secretary for youth mental health.
Here's her conversation with the CBC's Chris Walker.

"People need to speak to their
elected officials."

-David Harrhy,
Interior Health Authority

"There is a lack of accountability."
-Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond,
BC Representative of Children & Youth

"The system didn't work..."
-Terry Lake, BC Minister of Health

More about Chloe...


Failing Grace was produced by the CBC's
Marion Barschel, Christina Low, Adrian Nieoczym, Brady Strachan and Chris Walker.

Web content by Chris Walker.

Photographs & video courtesy Highley family.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

It needs to change!

2 years ago

It sure does need to change - what we need immediately is a return of a Mental Health Advocate for BC. Dr. Nancy Hall was the sole Mental Health Advocate we had and that lasted just a few short years (1998 - 2001) The position was eliminated.