More women affected by trauma will be able to access extended mental-health supports.
The Province is investing $100,000 for the Bridges for Women Society (Bridges) to continue providing women and families throughout B.C. with trauma counselling, recovery and referral supports.
“Bridges for Women Society gives compassionate, life-changing support to women, Two-Spirit and non-binary people affected by violence,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “With this funding, Bridges will help even more people restore hope and find healing.”
The funding builds on $50,000 that government provided Bridges in 2021 to support trauma-informed counselling services for people who identify as a part of the women’s community. The grant is in addition to the $20 million that government invested to support low- and no-cost community counselling programs throughout B.C. and to expand access to mental-health and supportive counselling services for adults.
“The work of Bridges in supporting women and non-binary people who have been affected by violence has helped so many people reclaim their lives,” said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “We know the impact of recent crises, such as the pandemic and climate change, have increased peoples’ risk of being harmed, and this funding will support Bridges’ work to offer essential, trauma-informed counselling services.”
The society offers healing, education and employment programs for people in B.C. who identify as a part of the women’s community, including people who identify as transgender, cisgender, non-binary and Two-Spirit, and who have been affected by trauma, violence or abuse at any time during their life. The programs offered are trauma-informed and aim to meet each person where they are without judgement or expectation.
“Bridges for Women Society is immensely grateful for the funding from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions,” said Patricia Rawson, executive director, Bridges for Women Society. “The additional services we can now provide change women’s lives. Clients often tell us how the counselling support around their mental health is a key factor in their healing.”
Enhancing mental-health supports is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.͛s roadmap for building a comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care for British Columbians.
Gwen Davies, clinical counselling co-ordinator, Bridges for Women Society –
“We know that recovering from trauma, abuse and neglect is not a linear progression. The isolation, difficult living situations, insecure workplaces and general anxiety that the pandemic has created has been exceedingly difficult for barriered clients. This funding makes a difference in their lives and opens stability and hope.”
- Counselling through Bridges for Women Society is provided to all clients who attend pre-employment programs.
- Depending on the client’s situation, counselling may be provided separate from the programs.
- Counselling costs may be reduced or covered completely.
- No-cost, low-cost or sliding-scale costs are available for eligible clients, including for people who are not eligible for funding under extended health care or other funding programs.
- The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women, with 62% of women in B.C. reporting that their mental health has worsened.
Bridges for Women Society: https://www.bridgesforwomen.ca/
For a list of organizations offering free and affordable counselling services in B.C., visit: https://caibc.ca/ccfprofiles/
A Pathway to Hope: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf