Mental health and substance use support has been awarded to Independent Living Vernon. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Funds support mental health and substance use services in North Okanagan

Independent Living Vernon Society among 29 recipients of provincial grants

More people in B.C. will have access to community-based low- and no-cost mental health and substance use supports as part of $10 million in grants awarded to community counselling programs throughout the province.

One of the 29 successful grant recipients is the Independent Living Vernon Society, as announced by Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, on Nov. 4.

The funds support a broad range of mental health and substance use services. These services include easy-to-access counselling, with a focus on marginalized people and those who have faced barriers accessing the supports they need.

“For far too long, counselling was out of reach for many British Columbians,” Darcy said. “Today, we are saying loud and clear that the ability to get help should not depend on the size of your bank account or where you live in the province. This new, multi-year funding is a significant step toward a system of care that helps British Columbians get help when and where they need it.”

Up to $120,000 per year, for three years, was awarded through the Community Counselling grants program, administered by Community Action Initiative. Funding will support organizations to address gaps in the mental health and substance use continuum of care by creating multiple entry points to much-needed services. In addition, the funding addresses gaps in care for individuals who face barriers related to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, class, sexual orientation and/or financial means.

Examples of funded organizations include a network of Neighbourhood Houses in Vancouver, Carrier Sekani Family Services in Prince George, DIVERSEcity Community Resources in Surrey, Independent Living Vernon Society, and Ishtar Women’s Resource Society in Langley/Aldergrove.

The funding is part of A Pathway to Hope: A roadmap for improving mental health and addictions care for everyone in B.C. Implementing the roadmap is a shared priority with the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

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