VICTORIA: The Government of British Columbia is taking action to support young people struggling with mental health and addiction.
To ensure that more at-risk youth in Metro Vancouver have access to the mental health and addictions services they need, the Province is working with the Dan’s Legacy Foundation to add four new therapists, and expand their successful therapeutic programs.
Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and representatives from the Dan’s Legacy Foundation, made the announcement in New Westminster at Queen’s Park Arena.
“Creating a mental health and addictions system of care that is seamless and connected, and that works for children and youth, and partners with Indigenous peoples, is a top priority for this government,” Darcy said. “Dan’s Legacy Foundation has helped hundreds of young people living with mental health and addictions challenges access the services they need to find their pathways to hope. Today’s announcement will help more youth access services, resulting in positive life changes for families throughout Metro Vancouver.”
The $200,000 in funding from the Province will be used by the Dan’s Legacy Foundation to improve access to its current therapeutic counselling and life-skills intervention programs. The programs are for young people 15 to 25 years old who are at significant risk of overdose, self-harm, homelessness and suicide. Specifically, funding will be used to hire four new therapists who specialize in trauma-based mental health and addictions counselling for youth.
The funding increase is anticipated to help an additional 125 youth over the next 12 months, doubling the foundation’s capacity to serve at-risk youth.
“In the past, access to services has been a big barrier for many young people who struggle with mental health and addiction challenges,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Funding like this means more youth and young adults in Metro Vancouver will get the types of support they need – whether it’s practical tools to help them live their best life, or just having someone they can talk with who can offer guidance without judgment.”
The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions is committed to working with its partners to create a mental health and addictions system of care that works for everyone. As part of the ministry’s mandate, a mental health and addictions strategy is being developed to guide the transformation of B.C.’s mental-health-care system, and will include a strong focus on prevention and early intervention and child and youth mental health and addictions.
Guyle Clark, president, Dan’s Legacy Foundation said: “We’d like to thank Minister Darcy and the Government of B.C. for providing us with much-needed funding for our programs. The funds will help us hire more therapists to meet the needs of hundreds of youth who are asking for our help. By moving upstream and placing a focus on harm prevention, we can help young people find recovery before mental health and addictions challenges become more severe, and assist them in working towards their educational, employment and life goals.”
Kaylie, youth client, Dan’s Legacy Foundation said: “Dan’s Legacy Foundation has provided me with the opportunity to maximize my health in all aspects – food security, stable housing and a new perspective on life. Since Tom Littlewood (program director, Dan’s Legacy Foundation) and his team have been working with me, I have gained employment, started a workout routine and have gained control over my mental health. I never thought I’d live to see my 20s, and here I am living them to the fullest, thanks to Tom, and Dan’s Legacy Foundation.”
* Counsellors from the Dan’s Legacy Foundation work in partnership with allied community-based organizations that provide wraparound services to youth, by offering a blended model of cognitive behavioural therapy and life-skills programs.
* Dan’s Legacy Foundation’s programs complement the other organizations’ programs, which focus on youth mental health and addiction, culturally appropriate and culturally based supports, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and helping young mothers and youth in foster care access supportive housing.
* Approximately 30% of the young adults that receive supports through the foundation identify as Indigenous.
* Dan’s Legacy Foundation’s therapists work with youth representing a wide range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The majority of its clients are youth who are aging out of care.
* Bursaries to cover the costs of programs are provided by the foundation for those who need it, ensuring everyone has access to the programs.