A New Vision for Mental Health and Addictions Care in B.C.

June 26, 2019. Article by: Government of BC

Mental health and substance use challenges can be complicated. They can be rooted in traumatic events. They can affect kids and adults. They can isolate people from their family, friends and community members – and when it comes to reaching out for help, supports can be hard to find, waitlists can be long, and care may not fit individual or cultural needs.

That’s why mental health and addictions care needs to be stronger and more supportive for everyone – from people experiencing challenges that need treatment right now, to children and youth who may need support to prevent small problems from getting bigger.  

The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has released a plan that focuses on making supports easier to access to improve health and well-being for people living in B.C. A Pathway to Hope (PDF) sets out actions that will change the current mental health and substance use system from one that reacts to crises to one that is based on preventing challenges and helping people earlier.

At its heart, the roadmap represents a new way forward for mental health and substance use services in B.C. – one built on compassion, care and the perspectives of people with lived experience of mental health and substance use challenges.

What does this mean for you?

There will be a greater focus on supporting peoples’ mental health and well-being from youth to adulthood, looking at how to make programs and services available to tackle challenges early on.

There will also be more harm reduction, treatment and recovery services, to help save lives in the overdose crisis.

Over the next three years, some of the important pieces of work the ministry will be taking on are:

  • Making it easier to access affordable community counselling.
  • Creating teams of mental health and substance use professionals in schools to support children, youth and their families and caregivers.
  • Opening more Foundry centres.
  • Opening more First Nations-run treatment centres.
  • Supporting early childhood social emotional development.
  • Strengthening services that help people in recovery.
  • Looking at how to improve the whole system of care for people getting help with substance use challenges.
  • Continuing to build the overdose emergency response, including through making more harm reduction services available.

The roadmap will be an essential guide to addressing the mental health and substance use-related challenges affecting people across B.C. It aims to support everyone – healthcare professionals, organizations, peer workers, families, friends and individuals – as we all work together to be part of the solution.

Read A Pathway to Hope: A roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in British Columbia (PDF) to learn more.