NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Government has announced a new vision of care for children, youth, young adults and people experiencing mental health and addictions challenges, called A Pathway to Hope: A roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in British Columbia.
“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 provincewide approach to build a system of care where services are always within reach and people have the supports and opportunities they need.”
According to the government, the Pathway to Hope is the 10-year plan, for mental health and addictions care for people to receive the services and tools they need to get help early on. The plan will identify the priority actions the government will take over the next three years to help people immediately to reduce demand on services down the road.
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Supporting the wellness of children, youth and young adults, supporting Indigenous-led solutions and improving access and quality of care is the current focus. With ongoing work to address the overdose crisis to improve systems of addiction 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 roadmap was launched with Mental health and addictions advocates at Mountainside Secondary school in North Vancouver launched the road map of the Pathway to Hope. Between 2013 and 2015, the number of B.C. students reporting depression rose by 50% and the number reporting anxiety increased by over 135%. Further, 17% of students reported that they had seriously considered suicide in the last year.
Pathway to Hope is a plan to begin transforming mental health and substance use care for children, youth, young adults and their families to reach them where they are – in their homes, communities and schools.
This will start moving the mental health care system from a crisis-based approach to upstream early interventions and begin to replace the current patchwork of services with wraparound services and supports.
Initial priority actions in the three-year plan 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.
Delivering A Pathway to Hope is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
“It is great to see this strategy identify key priority items, such as expanding First Nations-run treatment centres and targeting early indicators of emotional development and well-being,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
To view more on A Pathway to Hope; CLICK HERE