Youth struggling with addiction in the province will soon have more access to treatment through an investment that will more than double the number of treatment beds, the BC government announced on Thursday.
“Our government has invested in the single largest increase in youth treatment beds ever made in BC, so more young people can get the care they need, when they need it, close to home,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, during a press conference. “For too long, young people and their families have faced long waits for treatment and a fragmented mental health and addictions system.”
The province said that as a result of this investment, young people aged 12 to 24 and their families will benefit from 123 new beds for youth substance-use treatment and withdrawal-management beds, helping fill a long-standing gap in youth treatment services.
The $36 million investment will run 2022-23, and locations are being determined in consultation with regional health authorities, Darcy said.
In the meantime, the first round of new beds is expected to be in place by the end of the fiscal year, with more to follow as health authorities “find locations, plan clinical supports, and complete implementation.”
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The new youth beds are part of what the governments said is “the full continuum of care” it is building for young people, “and will be connected to culturally safe, youth-specific services in the community.”
This, the province said, includes new services to improve the youth substance-use system, such as the expansion of Foundry youth centres, investments in mental health promotion and prevention in schools, and establishing integrated child and youth teams in school districts.