Island Health is distributing up to $1 million through a new grant program that is designed to help improve mental health, mitigate harms from illicit drug use and build youth resilience.
The health authority says they are looking for expressions of interest from local not-for-profit organizations, local governments, Indigenous Nations and local businesses for initiatives that keep the community safe.
Grants up to $50,000 are now available for initiatives in communities across Island Health.
Expressions of interest should focus on businesses leading the way to a healthy workforce and new ways to reach people who use illicit drugs alone.
The health authority says expressions of interest aimed at youth aged 13 to 19 should focus on:
- Connection to one or more stable and supportive adults
- Belonging to a broadly defined family or community
- Connection to culture
- Competence and purpose
Grants are available in two areas. One focuses on improving workplace resilience and individual safety related to the toxic drug crisis. They say this still significantly impacts all of B.C., including Vancouver Island.
The second area is for improving youth resilience. Island Health says this comes during a period where the pandemic, online usage, climate change, and the toxic drug crisis have resulted in increasing rates of poor mental health outcomes for youth.
Keva Glynn, the executive lead for Mental Health and Substance Use Strategy says that the grants provide an opportunity to propose creative ways to reach those with a significantly higher risk with the crisis.
“The toxic drug crisis disproportionately impacts men, and particularly those working in the trades and hospitality industries,” said Glynn.
“The resilience and safety grants provide an opportunity for new partners and voices to come forward and propose creative ways to reach those at highest risk, focusing on deepening resilience and supporting wellness and work and home.”
More information on the initiatives and what they should address can be found here.