Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has issued the following statement regarding World Mental Health Day:
“Today marks an important opportunity for people around the world to bring mental health issues out of the shadows and into the light.
“This year, the focus of World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. The impacts of suicide are devastating for families and friends in communities large and small. Indigenous peoples, especially youth, are over-represented as they have shouldered an intolerable burden of mental health and addictions challenges, and intergenerational trauma – the legacy of residential schools, racism and colonialism.
“Many people do not come forward and ask for help because of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. This must change.
“People often feel stereotyped or judged, and as a result are far less likely to reach out for help. But slowly that is changing. People are transforming the way they talk and think about suicide, depression and people living with mental health challenges. More and more, people are starting to see that mental health issues are not moral failings; they are health conditions. And they deserve to be treated that way.
“Suicide is preventable when we work together as a community and as a province to build stronger connections to one another and when we break down the walls of silence that keep people from reaching out.
“Earlier this year, we launched ‘A Pathway to Hope,’ our roadmap to improving mental health and addictions care for everyone in B.C. We’re putting an initial three-year priority on transforming mental health and substance use care for young people: improving services, integrating services and bringing services to meet youth and their families in their homes, communities and schools. We know that if we start early, we can prevent challenges from becoming bigger down the road.
“Our roadmap includes increasing access to counselling services with $10 million in grants to community agencies that offer no-cost or low-cost counselling. Because access to mental health care should not depend on the size of your bank account.
“It takes a lot of courage to ask for help, which is why conversations are key. Reaching out to people with compassion and understanding is the best way we can work together to support people in need.
“If you are worried about someone who is showing warning signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviour, it is important to reach out, talk to them and help connect them to professional supports.
“Together we can create healthier and stronger communities, and that begins with providing early supports to those who need it. It’s going to take all of us working together, so we can get to a place where everyone, regardless of age or income, can ask for the help they need and receive it when and where they need it.”
Supports for suicide prevention:
- Crisis Association of B.C., a network of crisis lines available 24/7: 1 800 784-2433
- Kids Help Phone, open 24/7: 1 800 668-6868
- In partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, KUU-US Crisis Response Service provides 24/7 access to culturally safe crisis support to all Indigenous peoples in B.C.: 1 800 588-8717.