The Government of BC is investing $140 million over the next three years into addressing gaps in the mental health system. That’s on top of the $1.45 billion spent annually by the Ministry of Health.
$45 million will go towards hiring more Mental Health Practitioners such as specialized clinical staff and outreach workers over the next three years.
“It would allow us to hire 120 more Mental Health Practitioners. Currently we have about 500 in the province,” says the Director of Policy for Child and Youth Mental Health Services with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Rob Lampard. “We anticipate we will be able to serve up to 7000 more children, youth and their families. That’s a significant boost. We currently provide service to about 27,000.”
While funding has not yet been regionally allocated to mental health programs, centres like the soon to open Foundry Prince George will benefit.
“Some of that money will go into further expanding the Foundry network provincially, so Prince George is one of 5 original sites who receive that first round of funding,” says the Director of Community Health at the YMCA of Northern BC, Melissa Cailleaux. “I understand that there are 5 other communities that will be funded to offer Foundry services.”
“It’s something that people don’t recognize as a problem or a health concern so mental health is starting to rise to the forefront,” says the Coordinator for Youth Around Prince (YAP), Kevin Creamore, “and this is going to be a huge help for our youth in Prince George.”