British Columbia adds $2 million to improve suicide prevention and patient care

BC government says it is investing $2 million to support improved care in the health system, including in emergency departments, for people who may be suicidal.

British Columbia’s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions announced the investment on Thursday, saying people struggling with mental health issues, particularly thoughts of suicide and self-harm, will receive better quality care. in treatment settings.

The initiative seeks to develop a provincial framework based on established international practices, local clinical knowledge and advice from people with lived experience, according to the ministry.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson said the funding comes as people grapple with the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather-related disasters and the enduring legacy of residential schools.

“We’re supporting healthcare professionals so they have the tools they need to provide the best possible care to people and reduce deaths by suicide,” Malcolmson said.

The BC Coroners Service (BCCS) says it has investigated 582 deaths by suicide last year, compared to 597 in 2020 and 634 in 2019. Data shows Island Health was the only health authority to record an increase in suicide deaths every year since 2019.

“The changes will lead to improved quality of care settings across all health authorities,” the province said, noting that each regional health authority will receive funding to support evidence-based suicide prevention strategies. evidence to fill gaps in care.

“Suicidal care is an area where we can and should improve the support we provide to people at risk of suicide or self-harm,” said Leah Hollins, Chair of the Vancouver Island Health Authority Board of Directors.

“These investments in mental health supports will provide our staff with enhanced knowledge and better tools to meet the unique needs of Island Health clients and families for support, treatment and care.

According to the province, the period following discharge from inpatient psychiatric care is a high risk period for suicide. It says the investment will ensure care facilities across British Columbia provide follow-up care to reduce deaths.

“Health care settings like the emergency department offer important opportunities for suicide prevention,” added Jonathan Morris, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association – British Columbia Division.

“CMHA BC looks forward to continuing its ongoing partnership with people with lived experience, health authorities and the province to transform crisis care for the better.

With files from The Canadian Press

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