Vancouver Island University. (File photo)

Vancouver Island University. (File photo)

Province announces funding for VIU to train mental health workers

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

The provincial government announced today funding to expand training for mental health workers, and VIU is one of four post-secondary institutions where that training will happen.

A press release noted that the four institutions are sharing $800,000 to train mental health workers, a “critical” need during the pandemic.

The funding will cover 16 “seats” for the program at VIU. Other institutions receiving funding for community mental heatlh worker training include Camosun College, Selkirk College and the Nicola Valley Institue of Technology.

Community mental health workers promote mental and physical health, provide support at shelters, and counsel individuals who struggle with mental health and addiction issues, the release noted.

“Training health-care workers to provide essential mental health and substance use services is vital to building our system of mental health care, and Vancouver Island University continues to be a leader in this area,” said Sheila Malcolmson, B.C. minister of mental health and addictions.

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, said in the release that funding the community health worker seats can help ensure better mental health help and support for people closer to home.

“More people in our community are struggling with mental health challenges than ever before,” Routley said.

For more information about the VIU program, click here.

The release notes that the funding outlined today is part of B.C.’s previously announced COVID-19 response plan.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson named B.C.’s mental health and addictions minister



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