B.C. launches mental health-addiction youth teams in some Vancouver-area schools

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — British Columbia students in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District will become the first to get team support, or so-called wraparound care, for those with mental health and addiction challenges.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy says the integrated teams will work with schools and specialized service providers to offer complete care to students and their families.

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Last month, the government announced its 10-year Pathway to Hope program aimed at helping and supporting young people with mental health and addiction challenges.

Darcy says the government has committed $2.5 billion for mental health and addiction services, and that includes $10 million in grants to non-profit groups to offer affordable counselling to youth and families.

The government the teams will work with those experiencing challenges and their families won't have to retell their stories to different care providers or search on their own for the supports they need.

Darcy says the new mental health and addiction services model will be implemented in the district by this 2019.

"It is very striking that with all the diversity of perspective and the diversity of experience, there was so much clarity on the way to go," says Darcy, who made the announcement a Maple Ridge elementary school.

"The Pathway to Hope focuses on our most urgent priorities first, so that we're helping people when they need it now and reducing demand on services down the road."

After the government's program announcement in June, a B.C. coroner's jury examining the overdose death of 16-year-old Victoria-area youth Elliot Eurchuk called on government to improve early detection of mental health and substance use disorders within schools.

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