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B.C. announces $5M in mental health support during COVID-19

WATCH LIVE: B.C. Premier John Horgan and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy make an announcement about mental health supports for COVID-19 at 10: 30 a.m. PT

The province is putting $5 million toward expand mental health programs and services amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and launching new programs.

The funding includes enhanced virtual services, with a focus on adults, youth and front-line health care workers, to ensure British Columbians can get supports at home.

“If you are feeling anxious, stressed, depressed or disconnected because of COVID-19, I want you to know that you are not alone,” Premier John Horgan said.

“Our government is working to give you more options for mental health support as we all stay home to prevent the spread of this virus.”

READ MORE: B.C. launches new 211 service to connect seniors, volunteers during coronavirus pandemic

At the top of the list is expanding the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BounceBack program, which provides online coaching for adults and youth to help manage depression, anxiety, and worry.

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More access to free and low-cost counselling services is also coming, including those that specifically support immigrants, refugees, youth, Indigenous peoples, and people living in remote areas.

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A new online resource hub will offer support to front-line health-care workers, alongside a new online support service provided by the BC Psychological Association.

Mental health and COVID-19: Things to watch out for, for you and your child’s well-being
Mental health and COVID-19: Things to watch out for, for you and your child’s well-being

The province also worked with the federal government to ensure a clean drug supply for drug users, who are often dealing with mental health issues.

More than 900 spaces have been identified for people living on the street or in shelters who need to self-isolate due to exposure or symptoms.

The latest program is heavily focused on people who are encountering new struggles because of the self-isolation, financial challenges and other aspects of the pandemic.

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A new mental-health assessment tool will launch on April 20, offering online self-screening.