B.C. sets aside $2 million for mental health program aimed at suicide prevention

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The B.C. government will set aside $2 million for a program aimed at helping people experiencing mental-health challenges, particularly thoughts of suicide and self-harm.

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Sheila Malcolmson, minister of mental health and addictions, made the announcement on Thursday, saying the money will go to creating province-wide standards and training to improve care in the health-care system for people who may be suicidal.

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“When people are in a mental-health crisis, we want them to receive the best possible care,” said Malcolmson, in a statement.

“That’s why our government is making system-wide improvements to transform care for those experiencing mental-health crises and suicidal thoughts. We’re supporting health-care professionals so that they have the tools they need to provide the best possible care for people and reduce suicide deaths.”

The initiative will develop a provincial framework for suicide care based on established international best practices, local clinical knowledge and expertise, as well as the perspectives of people with lived experience, according to a government news release.

The B.C. Coroner’s Office reports that there were 582 suicide deaths investigated in B.C. in 2021, down from 597 in 2020 and 634 in 2019.

More to come…

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