Surrey, BC, January 27, 2022 | The ongoing effects of the pandemic, toxic drug crisis and even extreme weather events have led to an increase in mental health and substance use issues for many people in BC. This has resulted in a “20 per cent increase in people coming forward for mental health and substance use services,” stated Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson at a live event today announcing extended funding for free, affordable community counselling services.
The Province of BC is investing an additional $4.2 million to support the ongoing work of 49 community agencies to provide counselling services that are free or low-cost; DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society is one of the recipients. This new funding supplements the government’s previous investment of $19 million for community agencies since 2019.
“When people make the brave decision to seek help for their mental health and wellbeing, we want them met with care, regardless of their location or pocketbook,” said Minister Malcolmson. “I am grateful to these community counselling agencies for the vital work they do to meet people in their time of need and to build trust and ongoing connections.”
Joining the minister at the announcement today were representatives from various community agencies, including DIVERSEcity’s Director, Health Promotion, Amanee Elchehimi, who shared how the new funding will continue to build DIVERSEcity’s capacity to support more people seeking free mental health and substance use services, particularly British Columbians from immigrant and BIPOC cultural communities.
“It’s difficult to do justice to the extent of the impact of this funding. This investment has really facilitated and propelled DIVERSEcity’s ability to meet the ever-growing demand for culturally safe and first-language counselling services for immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural, and racialized communities,” said Elchehimi. She added that this funding has allowed DIVERSEcity to revamp its intake system and delivery service flow, resulting in reducing waitlists and ultimately helping more people.
“We are often one of the only, if not the only services, that can really meet those cultural and linguistic needs. Too often our BIPOC and newcomer communities are not centered in the design and delivery of mental health services. We couldn’t be more grateful for this funding. It has allowed us to put diverse clients and staff at the core of a service delivery model that is driven by principles, values, relationships and cultural safety,” said Elchehimi.
“If there’s no safety, there’s no therapy.”
Learn more about DIVERSEcity’s free Mental Health and Substance Use Services here: https://www.dcrs.ca/our-services/mental-health-and-substance-use-services/