Photo Credit:

British Columbians living with overlapping brain injury, mental-health and substance-use challenges will benefit from a new research project that will explore these areas and propose solutions to meet people’s needs.

The Province is investing $345,000 in Constable Gerald Breese Centre for Traumatic Losses (CGB) to support ongoing research into brain injury, mental health and addictions, and propose evidence-based solutions and services that are integrated, accessible and culturally safe.

“People who survive an illicit drug poisoning are at higher risk of brain injury because of the increasingly toxic drug supply,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “B.C. is funding this research to find the best ways to support people who have complex overlapping mental-health, substance-use challenges and brain injury.”

The research project includes provincial conferences – BC Consensus Building Days – and educational programs. The first BC Consensus Building Day, at the University of Victoria, will focus on overdose survivors with brain injuries. The conference will gather perspectives and ideas from health-care providers, community stakeholders and people with lived experience, including Indigenous groups and marginalized communities.

“Individuals experiencing brain injury, mental health, addictions, homelessness and criminality, and their families, are struggling to navigate a system that is not fully integrated. This is leading to dire consequences for many,” said Janelle Breese Biagioni, clinical counsellor and CGB’s CEO and founder. “It’s critical we take action now. Our intention is the B.C. consensus on brain injury, mental health, and addictions is an important step forward in determining priorities and solutions needed to bring about needed change to best serve people in British Columbia who are living with these experiences.”

This investment complements government’s work supporting people with overlapping mental health, substance use, trauma and acquired brain injuries, including the first-of-its-kind Red Fish Healing Centre, and groundbreaking approaches like complex-care housing.