New DIVERSEcity program aims to help those with substance use and mental health concurrent disorders
Today, April 14, marks five years since the Government of BC declared drug-related overdoses a public health emergency.
In those five years, more than 7,000 people have died by overdose in the province. Overdose deaths had declined before COVID-19, but increased isolation and disruptions in the drug supply chain since the start of the pandemic saw more people die by overdose in 2020 than ever before in BC’s history. (Read the BC government’s full statement here.)
Last week, Health Canada announced nearly $16.5 million in funding for 11 projects to help support communities in British Columbia in their efforts to address and prevent substance use-related harms. DIVERSEcity’s new Journeys program for concurrent disorders is one of them.
Journeys program for concurrent disorders
Journeys provides community-based counselling and outreach for adults and youth (minimum age of 13) living with mental health and substance use issues.
“Our program aims to meet and support people where they are at in their mental health and substance use journey,” says Andrea Canales, senior manager, health promotion, at DIVERSEcity. “Our goal is to move from exception to expectation when it comes to concurrent disorders in order to normalize and welcome the whole person, regardless of where they are at in their recovery or substance use. Our harm reduction approach will start from a place of compassion, support, empathy and honouring people’s humanity, dignity and expertise over their own lives.”
Participants in the Journeys program are supported by a clinical counsellor who will provide support with mental health and substance use, as well as a case manager to help with critical systems navigation supports.
Clinical counsellors will support participants with emotional regulation skills, harm-reduction strategies, relapse prevention plans, recognizing and managing triggers, and more.
Case managers will provide one-on-one community-based support with advocacy, employment and housing, and facilitate access to addiction/detox services and more.
Participants will also have the opportunity to access group counselling to learn more about themselves and create a community of recovery.
“Journeys aims to be a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive and culturally safe program that supports clients in accessing recovery and healing, in whatever way makes the most sense for them,” adds Andrea.