B.C. invests $53 million for psychosis supports for young people and families

Sheila Malcolmson, minister of mental health and addictions, announces supports for young people living with serious mental illness on July 20. || B.C. government photo
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The province is investing $53 million for early psychosis intervention over the next three years. The funds will expand programs and increase access to treatment for young people living with mental illness.

“Psychosis is a serious, treatable and often misunderstood illness that affects people from all walks of life,” said Sheila Malcolmson, minister of mental health and addictions. “Getting treatment early can vastly improve the future of people living with psychosis. That’s why we are investing in early psychosis intervention, to support healing early on and help people and their families thrive.”

The investment will expand capacity at 10 existing specialized programs by adding around 100 new full time early psychosis care positions province-wide over the next three years. New care providers, including psychiatrists, nurses, case managers and peer support workers, will be connected to each of the 10 specialized programs.

“We know how important early intervention is to supporting youth and young people to thrive and reach their full potential. By funding early treatment for psychosis, our government is getting young people and their families the help they need sooner,” said Mitzi Dean, minister of children and family development. 

Funding will be distributed through all regional health authorities, the province said. Currently, specialized early psychosis intervention services are available in Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George, the Interior region (Kamloops, East Kootenay, South Okanagan and Central Okanagan) and the Fraser region (Fraser North, South and East).

Services can be accessed directly through the health authorities and anyone can refer, including self-referral. Early psychosis intervention is evidence-based and focuses on strengths and family engagement. Treatment may include therapy and medication based on the person’s age and symptoms. The goal is to manage symptoms, support young people to return to work and school and foster positive relationships, according to the province.

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