The B.C. government is announcing $1 million in funding to provide families in the province better access to mental health support programs during World Schizophrenia Awareness Week (May 23-29).
The resources are being led and developed by the BC Schizophrenia Society (BCSS). According to BCSS, there has been a nearly 40 per cent increase in families asking for urgent help since the pandemic began, with over 900 families contacting BCSS for support over the year.
Support for a family member includes healthy coping strategies, a better understanding of mental illness and a connection to a community.
“We know families urgently need support when a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased this need,” said Faydra Aldridge, chief executive officer of BC Schizophrenia Society, in a press release Thursday.
“We are grateful to the province for this investment that improves access to vital supports for families supporting people living with serious mental illness in B.C.”
The funding, intended for those in rural or underserved communities, will allow for families to better understand a family member’s mental health challenges, according to the province.
“I am thankful that these programs will now be available to families in all parts of the province,” said Michele K. in the release, who has a son diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorder.
“People like me need to know that they aren’t the only one who has a sibling, parent or child living with mental illness.”
The investment brings the province’s total funding for BCSS to $4 million since 2016.