BY AMAN SINGH
NDP MLA for Richmond-Queensborough
IN recent years, many of us have become more aware of our own mental health and the impact it can have on our daily lives. Each year we mark Mental Health Week in Canada, a chance to share our stories, embrace vulnerability and build resilience.
Earlier this year, our BC New Democrat government released Budget 2023. This budget builds on the work we’ve done in past years, and continues to highlight the importance of improving mental health and addictions support for people. After years of neglect from the previous government, we’re making mental health and addictions care a priority and working to build an integrated system that works for everyone, whenever and wherever they need it.
Mental Health Week gives us an opportunity to reflect and check in with ourselves and our communities. If you are reading this, please know that you are not alone, and support is available for you. By working together, we can erase the stigma and eliminate the discrimination people face when they are look for mental health and addictions support. Being compassionate while having conversations about mental health and addiction is just one of the ways we can do this day-to-day, but we know that the work of our government is essential in addressing these issues.
In 2022, we announced the permanent location of a Foundry in Richmond. We have also recently announced an additional twelve coming to communities across B.C., alongside the fifteen that are open right now, with eight more on the way.
Foundry Centres provide mental health, addictions, and primary care for youth aged 12-24 and their families. Richmond is also home to an integrated Child and Youth team, which is designed to fill mental health, wellness, and substance use gaps – this is the first of five teams to be set up, and I’m pleased that we have delivered on this priority and are now delivering care in Richmond with a fully staffed team.
With these initiatives and more, young people and their families will have more access to support, at a younger age. By tackling challenges early, we can set young people up for a lifetime of resilience and success.
This work is integral to the health and wellbeing of our entire communities, and I’m pleased that our BC New Democrat government is taking this work seriously.
While we’re taking strides to improve the lives of people across B.C., we know there is more work to do. Together, we can work to build communities where mental health is valued, protected, and prioritized.