More young people around the province will get the help they need thanks to a $56 million investment in mental health and substance use services.

As part of the funding, 15 more integrated child and youth teams will be formed to help  deliver support for children, youth and their families.

One of those teams is planned for Vancouver Island, in Comox.

The team helps identify when a young person needs support and connects them to specific mental health and substance use services. 

B.C’s Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, Sheila Malcomson says these teams play a crucial role for families and youth who have nowhere else to go.

“To get help many families and youth have had to knock on one door after another after another losing critical time when help is urgently needed. These teams and expanded services will remove roadblocks and deliver better care for everyone involved. Teams work to fill gaps in the system where we are working at full speed to improve.”

Adding to that was B.C’s Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside.

She says as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health supports for kids should be a top priority.

“Now more than ever we need to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our children and youth in B.C. We know many young British Coumabins have experienced stress and anxiety in their lives as a result of the pandemic. We’ve heard from school administrators and staff from our education partners, parents and others that the pandemic continues to impact the mental health of students in our K-12 system.” 

Integrated child and youth teams include peer support workers, Indigenous support workers, education counsellors, and mental health and substance use clinicians. 

$40 million will help add 350 new full-time workers to support B.C.’s young people, and their families, to access services early on so they will be less likely to need services down the road.

The province plans to also invest $16 million to also expand and enhance the early years mental health supports for families.

That expansion will include hiring more than 60 new full-time family support workers, behavioural consultants and infant mental health clinicians over the next three years.

To learn more about B.C plans to help young people through mental health supports and services, visit the Government of British Columbia’s website.