VERNON – New Democrat MLA Harwinder Sandhu says that people in the North Okanagan will continue to benefit from low and no-cost counselling services with the extension of funding for a local community agency.
“Having accessible mental health supports is so important for people to get the care they need,” said MLA Sandhu. “Independent Living Vernon provides those direct supports to people here in our community, and I sincerely appreciate their work. With this extended funding, they’ll be able to continue providing these services to people in need.”
The Independent Living Vernon Society is among 49 local community agencies in B.C. that are receiving extended funding to continue their community counselling service. The New Democrat government is investing $4.2 million to support this ongoing service for people across the province.
This funding builds on investments that New Democrats have been making since 2019 to reduce barriers to mental health supports for people throughout the province. During the pandemic, additional funding was provided to more community counselling organizations to help them offer these vital services virtually. Since 2019, over 100,000 counselling sessions have been provided to people as a result.
Expansion of affordable community counselling services is one way government is improving access and quality of care, and it is a key pillar outlined in A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for creating a seamless, comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care that works for everyone.