VICTORIA, BC – (February 28, 2023): Mental health and substance use funding announced in today’s B.C. Provincial Government’s 2023 Budget means the Province will add $1 billion in new resources on mental health and substance use care over the next three years.
“We are pleased to see such a robust new investment of $1 billion in mental health and substance use spending in Budget 2023,” says Jonny Morris, Chief Executive Officer, CMHA BC. “This significant commitment will likely make the Government of B.C. a provincial leader in mental health and substance use spending in Canada in 2023.”
With this investment, the Province is allocating a significant portion of total health care spending on mental health and substance use care and is inching closer to the 12% called for by CMHA BC and their national partners in the campaign Act for Mental Health. “We are heartened by the Provincial Government’s dedication to funding community-based mental health supports in B.C., which provide accessible and cost-effective services outside the health system, and that more broadly address the social determinants of health,” says Morris.
In addition to these significant investments, today’s announcement also commits to a better system for tracking data, including tracking on waitlists, usage rates, and outcomes for patients. This will ensure that resources are being maximized and that individuals are truly getting the help they need, when they need it.
B.C. has lost over 10,000 people to the toxic drug crisis since 2016, with 2021 and 2022 being the deadliest years on record. The $586M allocated to increase services and supports for people living with substance use-related illnesses will have a significant impact on individuals who are focused on their recovery journey. CMHA BC looks forward to seeing how this funding rolls out, particularly to community-based service providers who provide crucial support to those throughout B.C.
While investments in detox, treatment, and recovery are important, continued investments in harm reduction measures are needed to keep people alive. CMHA BC is encouraged to see these in Budget 2023 and eager to learn more about the Province’s commitments to funding safe supply as more budget details are released in the coming days.
In addition to the toxic drug crisis, the mental health crisis is still evident, neither of which are mutually exclusive. CMHA BC is excited to receive provincial funding to expand our Peer Assisted Care Teams to three more communities this year.
“With today’s funding announcement focusing heavily on substance use care, we look forward to seeing more details about investments towards the mental health care system, including support for children, youth and adults with a variety of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, and more. This is a priority area for significant investment soon,” says Morris.
CMHA BC looks forward to further details about Budget 2023 and is ready to work with the provincial government as a community partner.
About the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
The CMHA is a national charity that provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. Each year in BC alone, CMHA serves more than 100,000 people across the province. For mental health and addiction information and resources visit www.cmha.bc.ca
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division