Plan leads transformation of mental health, addictions care: report
Sept. 14, 2021
VICTORIA – A new progress report confirms people in B.C. are already getting better access to mental health and substance use services, achieved through government’s 10-year plan, A Pathway to Hope.
Launched in June 2019, A Pathway to Hope is a roadmap for building a comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care that works for everyone in B.C., no matter who they are, where they live or how much money they make.
“We are working hard to ensure people in B.C. get access to seamless, integrated mental health and substance use care that can be found quickly and close to home,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “The progress we have made together with our partners in the first two years is energizing, because it shows we’re on track to achieving our goal of building the comprehensive system of care people need and deserve. Step by step, we are transforming mental health and substance use care in B.C.”
A Pathway to Hope initially focused on a three-year plan to address priority needs across four areas: supporting Indigenous-led solutions; improving wellness for children, youth and young adults; saving lives through better substance use care; and improving access to quality care overall. Two years into this three-year plan, new services and supports have been put into place across all priority areas, with more than half of the items achieved and the remaining actions in implementation stages.
Collaborating with Indigenous partners and supporting First Nations and Indigenous-led solutions to improve access and quality of care is a priority. For example, through a funding partnership between the Province, the Government of Canada and the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), 41 new First Nations-led mental health and wellness initiatives have been funded in 166 communities provincewide. As of June 2021, FNHA has funded First Nations to deliver land-based healing services at 147 sites.
According to the report, progress has been made toward establishing a seamless system of mental health and substance use care for children, youth and young adults. Foundry Youth Centres are open in 11 communities, with an additional eight centres in development. Over the past two years, more than 12,000 youth accessed Foundry services in more than 90,000 visits. Foundry services are reaching even more young people and their families through Foundry virtual services and the Foundry app.
The report also found virtual services have proven to be effective, particularly during the pandemic and for people who live in rural and remote areas of the province. Between April 2020 and May 2021, Here2Talk services for post-secondary students were accessed more than 12,000 times and more than 2,500 caregivers have accessed mental health webinars through CareforCaregivers.ca since the site’s launch in May 2020.
Improving access to affordable and quality care is a key focus of A Pathway to Hope. Thousands of people are accessing newly available low- or no-cost counselling services because of 49 community counselling grants issued to non-profit organizations throughout B.C.
Through A Pathway to Hope, the Province has escalated its response to the poisoned drug crisis. At the same time, it will continue building a system of care where services are always within reach, so people experience seamless, cohesive care. In the past two years, B.C. has expanded access to take-home naloxone kits to 350 new sites, more than doubled the number of overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites – with 1.37 million visits and 7,082 overdoses survived at these sites with no deaths – and introduced Canada’s first policy on prescribed safer supply.
Government will continue to invest in building a comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care that works for everyone in B.C. As A Pathway to Hope progresses, British Columbians who are experiencing mental health and substance use challenges and their families will see further improvements in access and quality of care as the system strengthens and evolves.
Jonny Morris, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association BC –
“We recognize the provincial government for investing in prevention and early intervention services for mental health and wellness as part of A Pathway to Hope. These investments have made earlier access to support possible, with positive impacts to the mental health and well-being of families, youth and adults. Since Pathway to Hope launched, almost 14,500 people were referred to our free BounceBack programs and over 9,000 families have been referred to our free Confident Parents, Thriving Kids programs. These programs help people while their symptoms are still mild to moderate, before they develop into more serious conditions requiring greater care, helping to create a pathway to hope.”
Steve Mathias, executive director, Foundry –
“Since the launch of A Pathway to Hope, Foundry has worked with eight communities to establish new Foundry centres across B.C. by 2022-23. Soon, we will be working with another four communities to open additional centres by 2024, bringing us to a total of 23 centres in our network and serving over 30,000 youth per year by 2025. In June 2020, we launched virtual services, including peer support, counselling and groups/workshops to support young people and families/caregivers across the province through the Foundry BC app, which was co-created with youth and the Province. This service is filling a large gap and reaching youth that are unable to access our centres from across B.C. We are so grateful to be part of this important investment for our province. It is ensuring we achieve our vision of reaching young people early, to help address small problems before they become bigger ones.”
Read the progress report:
A Pathway to Hope: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf
Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
250 213-7049 (media line)
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect