British Columbians living in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities will continue to have access to free and low-cost support for mental health and substance-use challenges.

The government announced the investment of $2.4 million on Wednesday, July 14th.

The funding will provide counselling services provincewide for populations in rural, remote and Indigenous communities and include expanded funding for community-based counselling programs, including virtual sessions.

Twenty community agencies will receive funding to extend the low- and no-cost mental health and substance use services started during the pandemic, which continues a funding which the province began in 2019 and will continue until March 2022.

News of the investment comes as the province reported that 21% fewer Canadians reporting good or very good mental health since the pandemic began.

According to the government, in the first year of funding, participating agencies held 60% more counselling sessions and provided counselling for 58% more people than in the previous year.

“Now, more than ever, British Columbians need help with mental health and substance use,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“Free and affordable counselling is an important part of the system of care we are building, and this additional funding will ensure people get the counselling help they need.”

The expansion of affordable community counselling services is a key pillar outlined in A Pathway to Hope, BC’s roadmap for creating a seamless comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care that works for everyone.

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