Posts Tagged "improve"


Joy MacPhail: We need to fix social problems to improve mental health in B.C.

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Premier John Horgan, with Evan Sky makes a mental health program announcement at Mountainside Secondary School in North Vancouver, June 26, 2019. A Pathway To Hope lays out the government’s 10-year vision for mental health and addictions care.


The Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction produced a new plan designed to improve mental health and addictions care, called A Pathway to Hope. The plan is a step in the right direction to improve the well-being of all citizens.

For far too long, problems with the current mental health system in British Columbia have remained unaddressed, leading to devastating consequences.

The ministry reported that B.C. has the country’s highest rate of hospitalization due to mental illness and substance use and that more than 1,500 people died from a drug overdose in 2018. The demand for services far exceeds what is available and there is a clear need for stronger and more accessible mental health programs. As minister of health in the mid-1990s, I acknowledge my share of responsibility for these outcomes. Recognizing these gaps in our current system is a crucial first step to moving forward with effective solutions.

The ministry fittingly recognizes that larger societal factors, such as colonialism and racism, have led to Indigenous peoples having disproportionally poorer mental health outcomes and being overrepresented in social, health and justice services. By engaging First Nations communities to design and deliver mental health services, the plan will begin to reduce the barriers to mental health care that Indigenous peoples currently experience.

Key to the ministry’s plan is the creation of seamless and integrated mental health services, an approach that would strengthen the opportunity for early intervention and ensure the accessibility and appropriateness of needed services. The plan is sound and requires sustained efforts and commitment to implement, but will ultimately ensure that mental health needs are met holistically, regardless of clients’ point of contact with services.

The ministry’s plan calls on organizations, businesses, and academic institutions to collaborate and create shared solutions. At Adler University, we couldn’t agree more. In fact, one of our main goals is to train mental health service providers to work with underserviced and vulnerable populations.

As part of our academic programs, our psychology and counselling students work at dozens of community agencies in the Lower Mainland, providing mental health services to marginalized people. The new Adler Community Health Services in Vancouver will make effective mental health care accessible to more people through our community partners. Additionally, our university is training the next generation of clinicians who can help fill the demand for quality mental health services, especially in underserved communities.

Improving mental health services is just one step we need to take if we truly want all British Columbians to have optimal physical and mental health. Mental health problems don’t develop in a vacuum. The health of individuals is directly related to the health of their communities. This idea was articulated by Alfred Adler, the first community psychologist and namesake of our university, in the late 1800s and it continues to resonate today.

With that in mind, we need to take a close look at what elements of our communities are contributing to various forms of deteriorating mental health and addictions. By working together to prevent systemic problems, such as trauma, homelessness and economic inequality, we can promote better mental health and wellness for everyone.

Joy MacPhail is chairwoman of the board of trustees of Adler University, which offers graduate-level programs in psychology, counselling and public policy, all with a focus on “positive social change” at campuses in Vancouver and Chicago. She is also a former long-serving NDP B.C. MLA and cabinet minister.

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B.C. Ferries building more boats and seeking input on how to improve the service on them

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BC Ferries is replacing some of its aging vessels — and it’s asking for ideas to help improve the customer experience on the new ferries.

Customers have a month until April 12 to submit their suggestions online at  bcferries.com/about/nextgen or take part in the pop-up sessions on board the vessels themselves on some of the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes.

“There is still a lot to be decided as we work to keep fares affordable, reduce our environmental impact, plan for future flexibility and enhance the onboard experience for customers” said a statement from Mark Collins, BC Ferries’s president and CEO.

The Queen of New Westminster, Queen of Alberni, Queen of Coquitlam and Queen of Cowichan, serving Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes are all being replaced.

“We want to hear your thoughts on the project, and your ideas about how we can improve your experience when travelling with BC Ferries,” said Collins.

The ferry operator is interested in hearing from customers about how to make improvements to

  • Accessibility.
  • Food and beverage options.
  • Family and pet areas.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Deck spaces.

BC Ferries says it is also interested in hearing about any new or innovative ideas that would enhance the public’s experience.

The new vessels are expected to set sail by the mid 2020s and will service Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen, Departure Bay-Horsheshoe Bay and Duke Point-Tsawwassen.

A contract to build the new vessels is expected to be issued next year.

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Provincial funding will improve accessibility

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To mark B.C.’s first AccessAbility Week, the Government of British Columbia is announcing funding to support projects that will improve accessibility throughout the province.

“People with disabilities often face both physical and social barriers in their day-to-day life, and that needs to change,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The $500,000 we are announcing today is one way our government is supporting organizations to advance their work, reduce barriers and increase accessibility throughout the province.”

The funding will be distributed through a series of grants administered by Disability Alliance BC (DABC). A call for proposals will be issued later in the summer 2018, and the grants will be dispersed by the end of the year.

“There is a lot of great work happening throughout B.C. to enhance accessibility and inclusion,” said Sam Turcott, DABC’s advocacy access program director. “This funding recognizes these efforts, and will help organizations to move forward on projects and initiatives that will help people with disabilities participate more fully in their communities.”

The Province proclaimed May 27 to June 2, 2018, as B.C.’s first AccessAbility Week, to promote inclusion and accessibility, and to recognize the people and organizations who are working to make B.C. a more inclusive and welcoming province for people with disabilities.

Quick Facts:

  • More than 500,000 people in B.C. over the age of 15 years identify as having a disability.
  • For organizations interested in applying for funding, details on the call for proposals will be available on the Disability Alliance BC website in the coming weeks.

Learn More:

B.C. government accessibility initiatives: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

Disability Alliance BC: www.disabilityalliancebc.org

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