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Local youth mental health, substance use services receive funding boost

Local youth mental health, substance use services receive funding boost

January 21, 2021 at 2:25 pm  BC, News, Politics

More children and youth will benefit from strengthened mental health and substance use services and support programs as community-based projects receive capital project funding this year through the Community Gaming Grants program.

“Young people are experiencing increased stress and mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic, and we know supporting their well-being is vital at this time,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “By providing capital project funding to community organizations that deliver mental health programs, we are contributing to the well-being of children and youth by improving local facilities and helping more young people access the care they need.”

As a part of the 2020-21 capital projects, six community organizations are receiving a total of $833,293 to help them deliver mental health, substance use and well-being programs for young people. These include:

  • McCreary Centre Society in Vancouver received more than $26,500 for the installation of a shower, changing area, and washer and dryer in its facility to support youth;
  • Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association in Williams Lake received $220,000 for a large-scale facility renovation to support the organization’s delivery of youth mental health and substance use services in the Cariboo region;
  • Canadian Mental Health Association, Cowichan Valley Branch in Duncan received over $121,000 for equipment upgrades to make COVID-19 modifications and meet increased demand for services to youth and adults; and
  • Take a Hike, Youth at Risk Foundation in Vancouver received over $76,000 for the purchase of a 24-passenger bus to ensure continued delivery of mental health and emotional well-being programs for youth, despite the challenges of COVID-19.

Sea to Sky Community Services Society in Squamish and Onesky Community Resources Society in Kelowna are receiving grants to support mental health and substance use services and programs for young people.

“COVID-19 has made it even more important to support community organizations with infrastructure so they can best support their clients,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our grants will support vital youth service providers with service delivery and facility upgrades so they are accessible, effective and as welcoming as possible. We’re thankful for their work connecting with vulnerable youth and providing the care they need.”

This grant funding builds on the additional services the Province is providing for child and youth mental health in response to COVID-19 and supports B.C.’s work to build a comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care for people throughout the province.

Each year, $5 million in capital project funding is targeted to help not-for-profit organizations build or upgrade community facilities and infrastructure, and update technology and equipment for programs.

This year, 53 not-for-profit organizations are receiving capital project grants through the Community Gaming Grants program. The full list of all capital projects funded this year will be released in the coming days. Since 2017, the capital project sector has helped 285 not-for-profit organizations in 92 communities buy equipment and make renovations essential to their operations.

This capital funding is in addition to funding provided to six different sectors for programming totalling $135 million annually.


Annie Smith, executive director, McCreary Centre Society –

“This grant is so exciting because it can offer young people the ability to take care of their basic needs in a safe and familiar space. Those basics of being able to have a shower and do laundry are key to building positive mental health.”

Vanessa Riplinger, executive director, Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association –

“COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing are producing more trauma and distress in our already under-pressure youth. The ‘Foundry Gathering Place’ will be a major pillar in meeting demands and will focus on the prevention of emerging issues in youth from evolving into permanent and disabling mental health disorders as adults.”

Lise Haddock, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Society, Cowichan Valley Branch –

“With the support of this funding, the Outreach Teams of the Canadian Mental Health Association-Cowichan Valley Branch will be able to replace aging vehicles to carry out the work of connecting and supporting homeless and at-risk youth and adults in the community. Team members support street-entrenched youth by arranging medical and counselling appointments, bringing them to the Open Door Youth Services Centre for showers and laundry facilities, offering information on community resources and distributing much-needed food, clothing and first aid supplies.”

Gordon Matchett, CEO, Take a Hike Foundation –

“When vulnerable youth experience the outdoors, they are better able to connect with Take a Hike’s counsellors and explore their personal challenges and mental well-being. We’re so grateful to the Province of British Columbia for the capital project grant to help purchase a new bus, it provides our youth on Vancouver Island with safe access to these transformational experiences.”

Learn More:

For more information on how Community Gaming Grants are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit:

StrongerBC: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/

B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan and other government resources and updates: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19

To support British Columbians during the COVID-19 crisis, the Province provided a $3-million emergency grant from the Community Gaming Grants program to Food Banks British Columbia in March 2020: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020MAH0049-000583

Mental health supports for youth, young adults and families:

  • Foundry Virtual
    provincewide virtual services with counselling, peer support, family support, groups and workshops via chat, voice or video calls for young people aged 12 to 24 and their caregivers. All services are free and confidential. Call 1 833 FOUNDRY (308-6379) or visit: https://foundrybc.ca/get-support/virtual/
  • Here2Talk
    confidential, free counselling and referral services by app, phone or online chat for all registered post-secondary students, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1 877 857-3397, or 1 604 642-5212 if you are a student calling from outside of Canada (international calling charges may apply).
  • Ministry of Children and Family Development 
    supports all children, youth and families in British Columbia to live safe and healthy lives and is responsible for providing programs and services to support child and youth mental health. A list of supports is available online: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/child-and-youth-mental-health-supports
  • Kids Help Phone
    24-7, immediate counselling, support, information and referrals. Youth can call 1 800 668-6868 or text TALK to 686868. Texting support for adults is available by texting TALK to 741741 or visiting: http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/
  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre
    free mental-health and substance use information, resources and peer support for B.C. parents, caregivers and families of children and youth. Call 1 800 665-1822 or visit: https://keltymentalhealth.ca/

A backgrounder follows.

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