Forty-nine community counseling services are set to get more funds from the provincial government so they can continue their work and expand into digital services.
“When people make the brave decision to seek help for their mental health and well-being, we want them met with care, regardless of their location or pocketbook. In the early days of the pandemic, community counseling groups helped us transform mental-health care delivery and, with our funding, reached thousands of people,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
$4.2 million dollars will be split between the forty-nine agencies, though how much each agency will get has not been released. With the investment, the government hopes to provide more counseling services remotely for rural and Indigenous communities.
The Snuneymuxw First Nation’s health center is one of the 49, and they plan to use the funds to launch their programs to a virtual format, and loan out technology for those who need it.
“The most significant impact of the community counseling funding for our organization and staff is the ability to pay our counselors and supervisors who were previously offering their services pro bono,” said Adrienne Carter, Vancouver Island Counseling Center for Immigrants and Refugees’ director of services. “Because our counselors are now compensated, we are able to access a wider pool of potential counselors, not just those who can afford to volunteer.”
Carter adds that the funding will expand the pool of languages they offer.
Funding is promised to expand low- and no-cost mental-health and substance-use counseling until March 31st, 2023.