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The Best Place on Earth


For Immediate Release

Nov. 1, 2010

Ministry of Health Services
Ministry of Children and Family Development





VANCOUVER – The Province today released a 10-year plan to address mental health and substance use with a focus on prevention of problems, early intervention, treatment and sustainability.


“The 10-year plan is a road map to further build on our commitment to improving mental health for all British Columbians and addressing problematic substance use,” said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. “Government now spends over $1.3 billion annually – up 47 per cent from 2001 – to address mental health and substance use problems and we need to ensure dollars are aligned with leading practice and best evidence.”


Entitled Healthy Minds, Healthy People, the cross-ministry plan reflects both extensive public and stakeholder consultation and evidence-based research and practice. It is aligned with existing child, youth and adult mental health and substance use strategies across the province, as well as the national mental health framework.


Healthy Minds, Healthy People places a strong emphasis on children and families, based on research that shows that early engagement and access to targeted supports can prevent or reduce mental illness and substance use problems later in life.


“We know that mental health problems frequently originate in childhood, and that early intervention at a young age can help prevent future illness,” said Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak. “A strong foundation in childhood sets the course for a healthy, fulfilling and productive life. The Ministry of Children and Family Development spends over $100 million annually on a continuum of child and youth mental health services for children up to age 19 and their families.”


The indirect costs of mental illness and/or substance use are also significant. Nationally, mental illness is estimated to cost the Canadian economy around $51 billion annually in lost productivity. B.C.’s proportional share of this burden would be more than $6.6 billion each year. Indirect annual costs of lost productivity related to alcohol use alone are estimated at $1.1 billion.


Healthy Minds, Healthy People acknowledges that mental illness and problematic substance use can affect people of all ages from all walks of life in school, work and at home. Around one in five adults in B.C. are affected by mental health or substance use problems over any twelve-month period. However, the stigma associated with these problems often means people do not seek out and receive the supports and services they need.


“The B.C. plan to address mental health and substance use reaches out to people at home, in school and at work,” said Michael Kirby, chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. “British Columbia’s plan focuses on prevention, early intervention as well as treatment. The commission congratulates the B.C. government for this comprehensive and innovative approach. We are proud to be working together toward the common goal of transforming the mental health system and improving the lives of everyone affected by mental health problems.”


Programs and services that promote maternal and family health and healthy early childhood development are crucial in prevention and early intervention.


As part of the continuum of supports and services to address mental health in children, the FRIENDS For Life program is an example of an evidence-based prevention program that increases resiliency and prevents anxiety available to grades 4, 5 and 7 students. Teachers and parents are educated about the prevalence, signs and impact that anxiety has on children and youth and learn skills to build children’s resilience and address the early signs of anxiety. FRIENDS in B.C. is funded and co-ordinated by the Ministry of Children and Family Development in partnership with school districts around the province.


Since its provincial launch in 2004, all school districts have participated, as well as many independent schools. Over 3,000 educators have been trained to deliver FRIENDS in classrooms, and more than 1,000 parents and caregivers have attended FRIENDS parent workshops – helping to increase mental health literacy in schools, families and communities.


‘The FRIENDS program teaches children how to cope with fears and worries and equips them with tools to help manage difficult situations, now and later in life,” said Jonaire Bowyer-Smyth, a behaviour specialist in the Surrey school district and FRIENDS program trainer. “The FRIENDS program is fun learning for kids and will benefit them, their parents and their entire family.”


The plan will achieve results by realigning current resources to invest in what is proven to work, and linking with existing programs and projects across government to increase efficiency and effectiveness.


“We need to learn from the evidence and provide effective and efficient services to achieve the best outcomes for people,” added Falcon. “We need to stop doing what doesn’t work in favour of what does and to ensure services are evidence-based and cost-effective.”


The Province is focusing on delivering programs more efficiently and effectively, including:


·      No waitlists at BC Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders program due to business process redesign.

·      Video-conferencing for training and clinical consultation on community Child and Youth Mental Health teams to improve access to evidence-based treatment.

·      A project underway to improve patient flow for adult clients with mental health and substance use problems at six Vancouver Coastal Health hospitals.


In addition, projects like the Homelessness Intervention Project and the Prolific Offender pilots show how better integration can enhance services without new dollars.


“Intervention and front-line outreach, to ensure B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens have access to supportive housing, is a crucial element to ending the cycle of challenges associated with mental illness and addictions,” said Social Development Minister Kevin Krueger. “The province has Homelessness Intervention Projects in five communities and 58 Homeless Outreach programs in communities throughout B.C. which have made a tremendous difference in over 770 people’s lives during the first few months of 2010 alone.”


Improvements in addressing mental health and substance use in B.C. include:


·      75 per cent more community beds for adults with mental health problems since 2001 for a total of 8,662 beds.

·      Opening the 100-bed Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction to treat those with the most severe mental health and addiction issues.

·      182 per cent increase since 2003 in community beds for people with substance use problems to 2,550;

·      Increasing the number of family doctors providing mental health and substance use services from 4,194 in 2001 to 4,574 in 2008-09.

·      Being the first province in Western Canada to have dedicated withdrawal management beds for youth – there are currently 39.

·      In 2003, B.C. became the first province to establish and then implement a Child and Youth Mental Health Plan that doubled the funding and significantly increased access to an enhanced continuum of services and supports.


Healthy Minds, Healthy People can be downloaded at:




Three backgrounders follow.


Media Contacts:

Michelle Stewart

Communications Director

Ministry of Health Services

Public Affairs Bureau

250 952-1889

Christine Ash

Media Relations

Ministry of Children and Family Development

250 356-1639


For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at







For Immediate Release

Nov. 1, 2010

Ministry of Health Services
Ministry of Children and Family Development





Milestones will help mark the plan’s progress over the course of the next 10 years. The plan also provides detailed actions and targets for specific population groups. Further milestones, actions and targets will be developed in collaboration with the key partners involved in the plan.


·         The number of British Columbians who experience positive mental health will increase by 10 per cent by 2018. In 2008, 68 per cent of British Columbians reported they experienced positive mental health.

·         The number of young B.C. children who are vulnerable in terms of social-emotional development will decrease by 15 per cent by 2015. In 2008, 13 per cent of B.C. kindergarten children demonstrated vulnerability related to social competence and 12 per cent demonstrated vulnerability related to emotional maturity.

·         By 2014, 10 per cent fewer B.C. students will first use alcohol or cannabis before the age of 15. In 2008, of all students who reported ever drinking alcohol, 75 per cent first tried it before age 15. Of students who reported ever using cannabis, 67 per cent first tried it before age 15.

·         The proportion of British Columbians 15 years of age or older who engage in hazardous drinking will be reduced by 10 per cent by 2015. In 2008, 23.1 per cent of British Columbians, aged 15 or more, reported hazardous consumption of alcohol.

·         By 2015, the number of British Columbians who receive mental health and substance use assessments and planning interventions by primary care physicians will increase by 20 per cent. In 2008-09, 51,033 people received these services.

·         By 2018, through implementation of integrated primary and mental health and substance use services, there will be a 20 per cent reduction in the number of days mental health and substance use patients occupy inpatient beds while waiting for appropriate community resources. In 2008-09, there were 75,838 inpatient days for mental health and substance use patients who no longer required acute care, and who were waiting for appropriate community resources.



Media Contacts:

Michelle Stewart

Communications Director

Ministry of Health Services

Public Affairs Bureau

250 952-1889

Christine Ash

Media Relations

Ministry of Children and Family Development

250 356-1639


For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at






For Immediate Release

Nov. 1, 2010

Ministry of Health Services
Ministry of Children and Family Development





·              Opened the 100-bed Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction in 2008 as a treatment facility that is helping some of BC’s most vulnerable and challenged citizens. The centre is the first of its kind in British Columbia.

·              Provided $500,000 for recovery and treatment support for patients at the Baldy Hughes Addiction Treatment Centre, outside of Prince George.

·              The Province has committed $138 million of capital funding to build or renovate mental health facilities in communities around British Columbia as part of the Riverview Redevelopment Project. To date, 441 mental health beds have opened across the province with plans being finalized to develop the remaining 402 beds of the Riverview Redevelopment project.

·              Opened a $19-million mental health building at BC Children’s and BC Women’s Hospitals serving children and adolescents with serious mental health and substance use issues. The facility also houses a women’s reproductive mental health program.

·              Opened 44 transitional, long-term supportive housing beds in 2010 at an annual cost of $3 million on the Riverview grounds to prepare those clients for integration back into their communities.

·              We have seen significant improvements – for example:

o   The number of adult community mental health beds in B.C. has increased by 64 per cent, with 3,137 new beds since 2001 (from 4,940 beds to 8,077 beds in 2008-09).

o   The number of community addictions beds has increased by 205 per cent, with 1,788 new beds since 2003 (from 874 beds in 2003 to 2,662 beds in 2008-09).

o   The number of general practitioners providing mental health and addictions services increased from 4,194 in 2001/02 to 4,574 in 2008-09.

o   The number of psychiatrists increased from 527 in 2001-02 to 647 in 2008-09.

·                B.C. has invested more than $40 million in building the province’s mental health and substance use research and workforce development capacity at University of British Columbia (UBC), University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University (SFU) and University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), as well as specialized centres at the Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health.

·                The Community Action Initiative (CAI) was established through a $10-million grant from the Province of British Columbia, announced on June 2008. Through investments in three program streams – Convening, Service Innovation, and Training – the CAI is providing funding opportunities for community groups and organizations to support cross-sectoral activities and projects that improve the mental health of children, youth and adults in British Columbia and reduce harms related to substance use.



·                Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams are an evidence-based service delivery that provides long-term, comprehensive services to individuals with severe mental illness who are not well-served by traditional, office-based services. The teams are made up of various health and social care professionals that reach out to clients and are available 24/7 covering a range of services including housing, physical health assessments, income support, employment and crisis planning. With an investment of $7.5 million, there are ACT teams in place in Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver and Prince George.

·                Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health is a $6-million program designed to help adults experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety that may arise from stress or other life circumstances. The project is led by CMHA BC Division and funded by the BC Ministry of Health Services. Bounce Back offers two forms of help. The first is a DVD video providing practical tips on managing mood and healthy living, available in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. The second service available is a guided self-help program with telephone support. The program teaches skills to overcome unhelpful thinking, reduced activities, low socialization and sleep problems, as well as strategies for problem-solving, through the help of a Bounce Back community coach. The guided self-help program is available in English and Cantonese. Access to the guided self-help program requires a doctor's referral. More information is available at:

·                Physician mental health plans are a GPSC mental health program developing collaboratively between the Ministry of Health Services and the BC Medical Association. The $6-million program supports and compensates family physicians for the time and skill it takes to work with patients with mental health illnesses. Physicians develop care plans in collaboration with the patient and their support network and, where needed, become an active member of a broader care team in order to help those patients remain safely in their community.

·                Future funding potential through integrated primary and community care and attachment programs and projects.

·                Future funding potential through Patient-Focused Funding.




Media Contacts:

Michelle Stewart

Communications Director

Ministry of Health Services

Public Affairs Bureau

250 952-1889

Christine Ash

Media Relations

Ministry of Children and Family Development

250 356-1639


For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at







For Immediate Release

Nov. 1, 2010

Ministry of Health Services
Ministry of Children and Family Development





In September 2006, the provincial government launched the year-long Conversation on Health, asking British Columbians to share their ideas on health and B.C.’s public health-care system. More than 6,000 British Columbians participated in the forums held across the province and more than 12,000 submissions were received. Change to better support overall health, including addressing mental health and/or substance use, was a key theme.


The common themes which emerged became the foundation of the public and stakeholder engagement on mental health and substance use system improvement – a key component in developing the 10-year plan.


In 2008, interest groups across the province helped shape directions in this plan through a series of workshops. The plan was further shaped through a broader consultation process with service providers and affected individuals and families in 2009. This included a consultative reference group established through B.C.’s tripartite process to ensure the plan is congruent with Aboriginal perspectives on mental health and well-being, and establishes a foundation for the development of a complementary tripartite Aboriginal plan to address mental health and substance use.


Organizations that participated in the engagement/consultation process for the development of the 10 Year Plan to Address Mental Health and Substance Use include:


Aboriginal Health Services Vancouver

Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC

AIDS Vancouver

Alcohol-Drug Education Service

Alzheimer Association of BC

Anxiety BC

ASK Wellness Centre

Association of Addiction Specialists and Allied Professionals of BC

Association of Substance Abuse Programs of BC

AWAK Women and Children’s Shelter

AXIS Family Resources BC Alliance

BC Ambulance

BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres

BC Association of Clinical Counsellors

BC Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police

BC Association of Social Workers

BC Association of Specialized Victim Assistance and Counselling Programs

BC Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health

BC Business Council

BC Chamber of Commerce

BC Children’s Hospital

BC Coalition for Health Promotion

BC College of Family Physicians

BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils

BC Construction Association

BC Council for Families

BC Council on Substance Use

BC Crown Council

BC Government Employees Union

BC Healthy Living Alliance

BC Housing

BC Hydro

BC Institute Against Family Violence

BC Medical Association

BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Network

BC Mental Health and Addictions Services

BC Mental Health Foundation

BC Multicultural Health Service Society

BC Nurses Union

BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information

BC Persons with AIDS Society

BC Principals and Vice-Principals Association

BC Psychiatric Association

BC Psychogeriatric Association

BC Psychologists Association

BC Schizophrenia Society

BC School Counsellors Association

BC School Trustees Association

BC Social Workers’ Association

BC Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

BC Superintendents Association

BC Teachers’ Federation

BC Union of Psychiatric Nurses

BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre

BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses

Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops

Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (BC)

Canadian Association of Social Workers

Canadian Bar Association BC Branch

Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division

Canadian Mental Health Association, Kelowna

Canadian Union of Public Employees

Cariboo-Chilcotin School District

Cariboo Friendship Centre

Carrier Sekain Family Services

Central Interior Native Health Centre

Central Oakanagan Regional District

Centre for Addictions Research of BC

Centre for Youth and Society

Child Health Network

Child & Youth Mental Health

Children and Women’s Health Centre of BC

City of Kamloops

City of Prince George

City of Vancouver

Coast Capital Savings

College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC

Community Corrections

Community Legal Assistance Society

Community Living BC

Community Mental Health

Conayt Friendship Centre

Council of Forest Industries

Crossroads Treatment Centre

DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society

Drug Treatment Court of BC

Dual Diagnosis Network

Elizabeth Fry Society

Ending Violence Association of BC

Family Services of Greater Vancouver

FASD Collaboration Roundtables

Federation of Child and Family Services of BC

Federation of Independent School Associations

First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Association

First Nation Chiefs’ Health Council

First Nations Education Steering Committee

First Nations Health Council

First Nations and Inuit Health

First Nations School Associations

First United Church Mission

F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids Mental Health

Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission

Fraser Health Authority

From Grief to Action

Health Canada

Health Employees Union (Care Aides and Licensed Practical Nurses)

Immigrant Services Society of BC

Infant Development Program of BC

Interior Community Services

Interior Health Authority

Interior Indian Friendship Centre

INTERSECT Youth and Family Services

Jessie’s Hope Society

Jewish Family Service Agency of Vancouver

John Howard Society of BC

Kamloops Brain Injury

Kamloops Family Resource Society

Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre

Kamloops Seniors Village

Keeping the Door Open

Kelowna Health Centre

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Law Society of BC

Lillooet Friendship Centre

London Drugs

Lytton First Nations Health

Lytton First Nations Mental Health Services

Merritt Helping Hands Society

Métis Nation BC

Michael Smith Mental Health and Addictions Research Network


Mining BC

Mood Disorders Association of BC


Nenqayni Treatment Centre

New Canadian Clinic, Burnaby and Surrey

New Life Mission

Northern Health Authority

Nursing and Professional Practice, BC Mental Health and Addiction Services

Overlander Extended Care

Pacific Centre Family Services Association

Pacific Immigrant Resources Society

People In Motion

Phoenix Centre

Prince George Native Friendship Centre and Men’s Shelter

Progressive Intercultural Services Society

Provincial Health Services Authority

Prostitutes Education and Employment Resource Society

Providence Farm

Psychosocial Rehabilitation BC

Rain City Housing & Support

Ridgeview (HCC)

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Sage Health Services

Saint Joseph’s General Hospital

School District 73

Scw'exmx Comm Health Services

Simon Fraser University

Small Business BC

Society for Children and Youth of BC

Society of General Practitioners of BC

Solve Homelessness BC


Surrey Memorial Hospital

Teck Cominco

Thompson Nicola Assessment and Referral Service

Three Corners Health Society

Thompson Rivers University – Disability Services

Thompson Rivers University – School of Nursing

Union of British Columbia Municipalities

University of British Columbia School of Nursing

University of Victoria

Urban Native Youth Assoc

Vancouver and Surrey FASD Collaboration Round Table

Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture

Vancouver Board of Education

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Vancouver Island Health Authority

Vancouver Police Department

Vancouver Refugee Services Alliance

SOS – Settlement Orientation Services and Inland Refugee Society

Vancouver Foundation

Victoria Cool Aid Society

Victoria Native Friendship Centre

Victoria Police Department

WestCoast Alternative Society

White Buffalo Métis Services Society

Worksafe BC

Yellowhead Community Services





Media Contacts:

Michelle Stewart

Communications Director

Ministry of Health Services

Public Affairs Bureau

250 952-1889

Christine Ash

Media Relations

Ministry of Children and Family Development

250 356-1639


For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at