PEOPLE throughout British Columbia will continue to benefit from access to low- and no-cost counselling services with the extension of government funding to local community counselling agencies, the Province announced on Thursday.
The pandemic, toxic drug crisis and extreme weather events have led to an increase in mental-health and substance-use issues for many people in B.C. On top of these crises, Indigenous survivors and their families have grappled with the confirmation of thousands of children buried on the grounds of former residential schools.
To meet this growing demand for mental-health care and services, the Province is investing $4.2 million to support the ongoing work of 49 community agencies to provide counselling services for people, particularly those in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
“When people make the brave decision to seek help for their mental health and well-being, we want them met with care, regardless of their location or pocketbook. In the early days of the pandemic, community counselling groups helped us transform mental health care delivery and, with our funding, reached thousands of people,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “I am grateful to these community counselling agencies for the vital work they do to meet people in their time of need and to build trust and ongoing connections. With today’s funding announcement, that care continues and broadens.”
Community counselling provides flexibility for counsellors to meet clients through outreach, in-person counselling or through virtual supports. In some community agencies, counsellors connect people to other services and supports, such as housing, employment insurance, addictions treatment or even attending appointments with them.
This funding builds on investments that government has been making since 2019 to reduce barriers to mental-health supports for people throughout the province. During the pandemic, additional funding was provided to more community counselling organizations to help them offer these vital services virtually. Since 2019, nearly 25,000 people have had access to counselling services as a result.
For a complete list of all funded community counselling agencies, visit: https://caibc.ca/ccfprofiles/
Free and low-cost mental-health and substance-use supports, including virtual services, for British Columbians: http://www.gov.bc.ca/
To learn more about A Pathway to Hope, visit: https://bit.ly/33HyFHy