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B.C. unveils new mental health plan

A new 10-year plan announced by the province yesterday aims to address mental health and substance abuse issues before they begin. 

A new 10-year plan announced by the province yesterday aims to address mental health and substance abuse issues before they begin.

“We know that mental health problems frequently originate in childhood,” said Mary Polak, minister of Children and Families. “Early intervention at a young age can help prevent future illness.”

The new cross-ministry plan, Healthy Minds, Healthy People, targets families and hopes that early engagement and access to support systems will help reduce or prevent mental health and substance-use issues later.

New Democrat Health Critic Adrian Dix said the plan was two years too late — the previous one expired in 2008.

During that time, the government “cut many preventative programs they claim (to) support in this (plan),” said NDP MLA Adrian Dix, citing the shutdown of Vancouver General Hospital’s Domestic Violence Unit and the West Coast Alternatives Society’s Kids First program as examples.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada was pleased with the plan’s wrap-around services, and congratulates the government on its comprehensive and innovative approach, said Commission chair Michael Kirby.

 
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