BC Green Party promises $1 billion for mental health support if elected

Oct 5 2020, 2:57 pm

BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau announced today that if elected, her party would invest $1 billion over a four-year-period towards mental health in the province.

The plan would see the party integrate mental healthcare into the public healthcare system.

“Mental health issues are affecting increasing numbers of British Columbians and we need to treat it like any other health issue by properly resourcing it in our public system,” said Furstenau. “For many patients, even just a few appointments with a psychologist can significantly improve mental and physical health.”

As such, “we need to invest in mental health services at every stage of British Columbians’ lives so that they can be supported to live healthy, fulfilling lives.”

Furstenau said the BC Green’s plan for mental health and wellbeing would “invest to build an affordable and accessible mental healthcare system where cost is not a barrier to seeking help.”

The party would allocate $1 billion over a four-year cycle to address mental health issues within the medical services plan.

Furstenau said “funding should be provided for a comprehensive suite of initiatives” including:

  • Establishing accessible mental health treatment options for all those struggling with anxiety or depression;
  • Early intervention, youth mental health initiatives, integrated primary care specific to youth and mental health enabling families to easily navigate resources in a supportive environment;
  • Community-based options for responding to those with mental health issues and their families such as Clubhouse International;
  • Enhanced counselling outreach services to work with the homeless community;
  • Investment in facilities to provide mental healthcare services and community-based centres for mental health and rehabilitation. Accelerated capital plans for the construction of tertiary care facilities and detoxification beds, and protection of operating funding for facilities;
  • Develop and implement a “Loneliness Strategy;”
  • Conduct a public information campaign to increase understanding of mental health issues and provide information on where to get help.

“Mental health care is failing at all levels, from early intervention for children and youth through to tertiary care for adults with complex psychological problems,” said Furstenau.

“On top of that, young people are also facing compounding crises of climate change and affordability. Young people are the emerging leaders of our province and they should feel hopeful and excited about their future.”

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