Affordable mental health funding extended to Ridge Meadows

From Fall 2020 to Spring 2021, 23 per cent of people aged between 25 to 44 screened for major depressive disorder, StatCan reports

The New Democratic Party (NDP) government announced that provincial funding for mental health services will be extended to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows making it accessible for all, a statement said on January 27, 2022. 

The announcement posted on the caucus website mentioned that residents in both cities will continue to benefit from low-cost or free counselling services provided by local community organizations. 

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services and Cythera Transition House Society, along with 49 other community organizations across the province, will receive funding. 

“After the last few years, the need for accessible mental health services has been more clear than ever, and we know the need is growing. That’s why our government is extending funding for these important and lifesaving counselling services,” said Lisa Beare, MLA for Ridge-Meadows. 

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New Democrat MLAs Lisa Beare and Bob D’Eith say that people in Maple Ridge will continue to benefit from low and no-cost counselling services with the extension of funding for two local community agencies.

The provincial government is investing $4.2 million to ensure continued services are provided to residents across B.C. 

As extreme climate impacts and the pandemic continue to affect the well-being of people, the need for accessible counselling is “essential,” according to Bob D’Eith, Maple Ridge-Mission MLA.  

We reached out to Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services for more information on funding but did not hear back by press time. 

The provincial government through Medical Services Plan (MSP) only covers psychiatry at no additional cost. However, private counselling or therapy services can cost upwards of $100 per session. 

According to the latest data by Canadian Medical Health Association, the projected cost for Canadian healthcare and social support services was $79.9 million in 2021.

Due to the high cost of these services, it’s also estimated that Canadians pay an estimated $950 million, annually, for private counselling services. 

“Because public mental health services are underfunded and have long wait times, many people rely on their employer-based benefits to bear the personal cost of private services,” the report stated. 

According to Statistics Canada’s mental health survey results, 23 per cent of people aged between 25 to 44 years screened for major depressive disorder from Fall 2020 to Spring 2021. 

The data also shows that young adults between the ages of 18 to 24, a staggering 80 per cent reported feelings of loneliness or increased physical illness due to COVID-19. 

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