B.C. Premier David Eby announced Thursday more specifics about the provincial government’s $1-billion investment in mental health supports, including an additional 195 treatment and recovery beds for people addicted to drugs and those suffering from mental illness, or both.
“It's essential that people who struggle with mental health and addiction can find and stay connected to the care they need quickly," stated Eby in a statement, as he spoke to health-care providers at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver Thursday.
The $1 billion in support was included in the 2023 budget, which will run a deficit of $4.2 billion, following a $5-billion surplus last year.
The new beds include 100 new “community adult substance-use treatment and recovery beds,” with no fees for British Columbians and 95 beds that will offer seamless care for the entirety of recovery.
The beds will be placed throughout the province and follow the model of Coquitlam’s Red Fish Healing Centre Assessment and Stabilization Unit. Red Fish offers treatment for concurrent disorders and includes research and education and virtual health services.
The new spending includes a $171-million investment fund for Indigenous-led treatment, recovery and aftercare services.
There is also a broad promise to “increase services for young people, including crisis supports, culturally safe wraparound services, enhanced transition services and improved emergency room hospital-based care and discharge planning.”
The BC NDP government claims that since coming into power in 2017 it has added more than 360 new adult and youth substance-use treatment beds.
The Canadian Mental Health Association BC will be a large beneficiary of the funds.
“The funding announced today will allow CMHA BC to continue leading this important grant funding program for treatment and recovery beds while allowing us to expand the program to a total of 205 beds across B.C.,” said Jonny Morris, CMHA CEO.