The government of British Columbia (BC) has released a ten-year plan, “Healthy Minds, Healthy People,” to address mental health and substance use in the province, focusing on prevention, early intervention, treatment and sustainability. Development of the cross-ministry plan drew on extensive public and stakeholder consultation and evidence-based research and practice.
Over the next 10 years, the main goals of the plan are to: improve the mental health and well-being of the population; improve the quality and accessibility of services for people with mental health and substance use problems; and reduce the economic costs to the public and private sectors resulting from mental health and substance use problems. Using a population health approach, the plan includes a series of recommended actions and specific milestones directed at a range of people throughout the province, including the general population, those vulnerable to mental health and substance use problems, those with mild to moderate problems, and those with severe and complex mental and substance use disorders.
“Healthy Minds, Healthy People” aligns with existing BC strategies that address child, youth and adult mental health and substance use across the province, as well as the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s national mental health framework. The plan has a strong emphasis on children and families, based on research indicating that early engagement and access to targeted supports can prevent or reduce mental illness and substance use problems later in life.
See “Healthy Minds, Healthy People,” Government of British Columbia, November 2010, available at www.health.gov.bc.ca. See also the press release, “BC Plan Focuses on Healthy Minds, Healthy People,” Ministry of Health Services and Ministry of Children and Family Development, November 1, 2010, available at www2.news.gov.bc.ca.