Provincial Budget Preview – $140M For Mental-Health Initiatives

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Victoria – Part of Tuesday’s Provincial Budget will include money for mental health.

This is the media release from Victoria:

A new mental-health digital hub that will make it easier for thousands of British Columbians to find the services and supports closest to them is among various targeted initiatives totalling $140 million over three years under Budget 2017 to support those with mental-health and substance-use challenges. The new resources will focus on prevention and early intervention, housing, enhanced treatment and supports, and better integration and access to services.

“We’ve heard from individuals and families that navigating the mental-health system in B.C. can be frustrating, and that’s why government is taking important steps to better coordinate services and break down barriers to help people connect to the services they need more quickly,” said Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman. “Whether someone is looking for information about depression, trauma, addictions, anxiety or eating disorders, the new digital hub will make it easier for people to find mental-health and substance-use services near them.”

The digital hub is designed to enable people to find mental-health and substance-use information and services based on audience, topic and location, bringing together more than 6,000 services from over 450 providers throughout the province. The hub was created with input from service providers, experts, parents, caregivers and people who have experienced mental-health issues themselves. It will be supported by HealthLinkBC.

To ensure better access to a range of services for youth and young adults, the Province has committed funding over the next three years for new additional supports to:

  • Hire more than 120 mental-health practitioners to connect children, youth, and their families to mental-health and substance-use treatments and supports faster.
  • Create up to 28 new highly specialized substance-use treatment beds for young people, which will provide the highest level of substance-use care available in the province.
  • Support mental-health initiatives for post-secondary students.
  • Expand services for youth through an online counselling service for mild to moderate mental-health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Expand the Foundry integrated youth centres to more communities, providing one-stop shops to support youth who are struggling with mild to moderate mental-health or substance-use challenges.

Additional support for students with mental-health needs is one aspect of the $100 million in annual funding for school districts under the Province’s interim agreement with the BC Teachers’ Federation. It’s anticipated that as much as 5-10% of this funding may be used to hire educational psychologists, school counsellors and other staff who can help students who are struggling.

Further mental-health and substance-use supports to be expanded under Budget 2017 over the next three years include:

  • The capacity to support First Nations communities in dealing with suicide and other mental-health crises through an additional Aboriginal Suicide and Critical Incident Response Team.
  • New supportive housing units for people with mental-health or substance-use issues or those who may be homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • Access to Aboriginal substance-use detox and treatment that incorporates traditional Indigenous approaches to healing.

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