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VIU to train more community mental health workers

VIU to train more community mental health workers

January 18, 2021 at 11:33 am  BC, News, Politics

A new education and training program at Vancouver Island University (VIU) will enable people to train for high-demand jobs as community mental health workers.

B.C.’s need for mental health support has never been more critical than during the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet that need, government is investing a total of $800,000 across four public post-secondary institutions to train community mental health workers. Community mental health workers provide invaluable support, such as mental and physical health promotion, shelter support and addictions counselling to individuals who struggle with mental health and addiction issues.

“Government is working on ways to help B.C. recover from the impacts of COVID-19. This includes enabling people to retrain or upskill in innovative programs, or receive essential on-the-job training for high-demand jobs, such as community mental health workers,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “The funding we’re announcing today will support training for highly valued and respected positions working with some of B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens.”

VIU in Nanaimo is one of four post-secondary institutions throughout the province that will train community mental health workers. The institution has received funding for 16 seats for the program.

“Training health-care workers to provide essential mental health and substance use services is vital to building our system of mental health care, and Vancouver Island University continues to be a leader in this area,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Mental health and addictions challenges can affect anyone, and these training spaces will provide much needed support as we build our system of care to help people when they need it the most.”

This investment in community mental health is part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan to help thousands of people upskill or reskill and find their place in the post COVID-19 economy. It is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC, a plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.


Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum

“Now more than ever, people working on the front lines to support those facing mental health and addictions challenges need our support. Our government is responding by equipping more people for in-demand jobs while at the same time ensuring people in our community have better access to care.”

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan

“More people in our community are struggling with mental health challenges than ever before. We need to ensure that supports are available when people need them and this is why we are funding more community mental health worker seats, ensuring that better help and support is available closer to home.”

Learn More:

For fast-track skills training opportunities in StrongerBC, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/jobs-and-opportunities

Virtual mental health supports during COVID-19: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/virtual-supports-covid-19

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