B.C. is investing $800,0000 across four public post-secondary institutions to meet demand and help train new community health care workers. This funding will allow Vancouver Island University (VIU) to offer its community mental health worker program (CHMW) to up to 28 additional students in the spring semester, according to Dr. Patricia O’Hagan, dean of the faculty of health and human services.
“Graduates of the CHMW program gain the knowledge and skills to work with vulnerable youth and adults who struggle with mental health and addiction issues in a variety of institutional, residential and community settings,” she said.
VIU is a leader in training health-care workers to provide essential mental health and substance use services, according to Sheila Malcolmson, minister of mental health and addictions.
“Mental health and addictions challenges can affect anyone, and these training spaces will provide much needed support as we build our system of care to help people when they need it the most,” Malcolmson said.
The investment is part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to help thousands of people to find their place in a post COVID-19 economy.
“People working on the front lines to support those facing mental health and addictions challenges need our support,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “Our government is responding by equipping more people for in-demand jobs while at the same time ensuring people in our community have better access to care.”
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has hired many grads of VIU’s CHMW program.
“VIU graduates will be in even higher demand than they currently are, as this sector is expanding. Having qualified personnel is vital in serving our community successfully,” said Jason Harrison, executive director of the CMHA, Mid-Island branch.