A new program called “A Pathway For Hope” aimed at people experiencing mental health and addictions challenges has launched in British Columbia
According to the B.C. government, the program will offer British Columbians better access to the services and care that they need.
“For too long, little attention was paid to mental health and substance use care by previous governments,” said Premier John Horgan. “A Pathway to Hope lays out our plan to help people now and improve the health and wellness of all British Columbians in the long term. We’re taking a province-wide approach to build a system of care where services are always within reach and people have the supports and opportunities they need.”
The outlined plan identifies the priority actions the government will take over the next three years to help people immediately and reduce demand on services down the road.
The government said the initial priority actions over the next three years include:
Increasing access to affordable counselling and support: expanding sliding scale and no-cost community counselling services with $10 million in grants to non-profits. This will expand affordable access for people, especially those without extended health coverage and those facing barriers related to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, social class and/or sexual orientation.
Launching integrated child and youth teams connected to schools: establishing multi-disciplinary teams in five school districts over the next two years to bring wraparound services and supports directly to young people where they feel safe and comfortable, so families and caregivers do not have to navigate a system on their own.
Opening more Foundry centres: increasing the number of Foundry youth centres from 11 to 19, so that young people in more communities can access these “one-stop shops” for health and wellness resources, services and supports.
Expanding First Nations-run treatment centres: supporting the construction of two new urban treatment centres and renovations to a number of existing centres providing culturally safe access to substance use services.
Expanding intensive services for children and youth: establishing two new intensive day programs for children and youth with severe mental health and/or substance use challenges transitioning out of hospital care, and 20 new family care home spaces with clinical care as an alternative to hospitalization.
Supporting early childhood social emotional development: enhancing and expanding early intervention services and programs in child development centres and community-based organizations and launching new professional development tools and educational resources to support service providers and caregivers of children under six years of age.
The plan also states that it will build on the ongoing work to address the overdose crisis by starting to establish improved systems of addictions care.
“There is nothing more pressing than ensuring every young person has the supports they need to not just survive, but thrive,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “These longstanding problems in mental health and addictions care won’t be fixed overnight. But by starting to move from a crisis-driven system to early intervention and prevention – especially for children and youth – we can help people before their problems become more severe.”
The delivery of A Pathway to Hope is a shared priority between the B.C. Government and the BC Green Party caucus, says the release.