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Posted: May 5, 2019

Mental Health Week a unique opportunity

Letter to the Editor

Mental Health Week (May 6-12) is a unique opportunity for government, communities and British Columbians to commit to having courageous conversations and to build public awareness of the effects of mental health and addictions challenges.

Having the courage to speak up and start discussion is essential to lifting people up and bringing mental health and addictions out of the shadows. The people we care about – whether they are friends or family members, co-workers or teammates – need to know that they can ask for the help they need, without judgment and without shame. It is our responsibility as a society to make sure that those who need help have access to quality supports and services.

Improving mental health and wellness must become part of everyday life in our schools and workplaces and communities throughout the province. Our government is working to transform mental health and addictions care to ensure it works for everyone – adults, families, children and youth, as well as First Nations, Métis and other Indigenous communities. This means starting early with prevention and early intervention for children and youth, expanding primary care networks and team-based services that include mental health and addictions care, and making sure supports are culturally safe.

From day one, we have taken a whole-of-government approach to addressing the root causes and social conditions that underline so many mental health and addictions challenges. For example, we’ve launched a bold Poverty Reduction Strategy with ambitious goals to reduce poverty by 25% and child poverty by 50% over the next five years. We’re making significant investments in affordable housing and aggressively tackling homelessness. We are providing homes to over 2,000 British Columbians who were previously homeless.

What’s critically important is that mental health and addictions services are being embedded in most of the temporary modular housing being built. We’re also working closely with Indigenous communities and approaching mental health and addictions services through the lens of reconciliation.

This Mental Health Week, I ask all British Columbians to do their part and #GetLoud. Reach out to someone you know who may be struggling. Be compassionate, understanding and most importantly, just listen. The conversations you have might make the difference in helping someone reach out for the help they need.

Judy Darcy,

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions


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