A non-profit men’s therapy centre in Victoria that was at risk of shutting down despite a surge in clients has received 11th-hour funding from the B.C. government to keep its doors open.
Victoria’s Men’s Therapy Centre has been operating for 20 years, providing specialized trauma-informed therapy services to men 16 and older who have experienced physical, psychological, or sexualized violence, including some of the region’s most vulnerable residents.
But because the centre has been grappling with financial hardship, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased demand has stretched its financial resources thin.
After a deficit budget was passed at a meeting on March 30 and with staff facing pay cuts, executive director Nick Sandor told CHEK News Monday he was concerned about the facility’s future, saying if closed, more than 300 clients would likely be left without a place to turn for professional help.
The B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions diffused those concerns Wednesday by announcing a lifeline in the form of an immediate $100,000 for the Men’s Therapy Centre. In a statement, the ministry said it’s enough to keep the centre running while it consults with the operator on sustainable long-term solutions.
“When people make the brave decision to seek help for their mental health and wellbeing, they need to be met with the appropriate care,” the ministry said. “The Province knows how critical services like the ones provided by the Men’s Therapy Centre (MTC) are for people experiencing mental health challenges.”
The emergency funds were met with enthusiasm by Sandor, saying conversations he’s had with Mental Health and Addictions Minister Jennifer Whiteside have left him feeling reassured about the centre’s future.
“We are confident that we have identified a pathway to success and are busy working with the provincial government to put that plan into action,” he said in an email to CHEK News.
The province revealed in its budget earlier this year that it plans to spend more than $1 billion over three years to battle the mental health and addictions crises in B.C. communities, which includes a plan to expand a treatment model being piloted at Red Fish Healing Centre in Coquitlam to the rest of the province.
The specialized facility offers inpatient treatment and recovery services for adults grappling with concurrent disorders – a combination of severe mental illness and substance use disorder — using research, education, virtual health, and teaching spaces to provide comprehensive care.