The Province of BC’s Budget Update 2017 signals a welcome shift in mental health and substance use care from expensive crisis response to prevention and early intervention, according to CMHA BC.
“The 84,000 children, youth and families in BC waiting for mental health and substance use help have spoken up loud & clear— together with them we have called for a shift of resources away from crisis responses like policing and hospitalization – to invest in prevention and early intervention. We’re pleased to see the ideas in our B4Stage4 campaign reflected in this Budget Update,” said CMHA BC CEO Bev Gutray.
CMHA welcomes the following as they relate to mental health & substance use:
- Leading and directing prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery across multiple Ministries with $4.9 million this year to establish the new Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions
- Preventing homelessness through supported housing with $291 million to build new modular housing units for people who are homeless and an additional $170 million to run those units and provide supports and services
- Significant poverty reduction measures – including bringing back the free bus pass for people with disabilities in January 2017, increasing disability and income benefits by $100 a month, and increasing the earnings exemption by $200 per month
- Increased funding for education that CMHA hopes will address the need for expanded mental health services in schools, which are the natural setting for first interventions when young people are struggling
- Continued focus on reducing the incidence of indigenous children being taken into care
“We look forward to Budget 2018/19 when the full service plan for the new Ministry will be detailed. We look forward to significant investments in prevention, early intervention, and the creation of a public community-based early identification and addiction treatments system,” said Gutray. “We are looking for a mental health and addictions plan that is innovative in reaching people early on and focused on promoting mental well-being for everyone. We hope to see that people with lived experience of mental illness and addiction and those who support them are at the table as the plan is developed. We also hope to see a significant public awareness campaign to communicate that problem substance use and addiction is a health issue.”
CMHA’s b4stage4 policy campaign has the support of over 4,000 citizens across BC.
To request an interview with a CMHA representative please contact Lorna Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About CMHA BC
Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in hundreds of neighbourhoods across every province, CMHA provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. Visit the CMHA BC website at: www.cmha.bc.ca.
Lorna Allen, Communications Coordinator – Media, CMHA BC Division
P: 604-688-3234 ext. 6326