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Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions releases first report

September 10 2014

"Untreated mental illness and addictions continues to be an issue that our City confronts, whether it’s through our social services, policing, or schools," said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Youth group

The Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions released its first report today, outlining 23 priority actions to improve the health and housing needs of Vancouver residents living with mental health issues and addictions.

“Untreated mental illness and addictions continues to be an issue that our City confronts, whether it’s through our social services, policing, or schools,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Through the work of the task force, the City is committed to mobilizing the support of stakeholders and senior levels of government to address the challenge of mental illness and addictions, and help our most vulnerable residents get the support they need.”

Report recommendations

The report "Caring for All: Priority Actions to Address Mental Health and Addictions" includes recommendations to:

  • Bring together an advisory group to create concepts for aboriginal healing and wellness centres in Vancouver
  • Build academic partnerships with SFU and UBC to design a collaborative, real-time, data-sharing model as part of a collective impact approach that involves: people with lived experience, family members, and health- and community-service providers
  • Enhance training and outreach with the Vancouver Police Department on working with people with lived experience
  • Increase community awareness of mental health and addiction by expanding the City Dialogues project to discuss the impact of poverty and stigma of mental illness

This report will be presented to City Council next week.

Read the report

About the task force

The Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions, building on the success of the Four Pillars Coalition, was initiated in October 2013 to mobilize leaders from a broad range of sectors to address the ongoing crisis in Vancouver.

To identify high priority, feasible actions, the task force brings together 60 leaders from:

  • The City of Vancouver
  • Vancouver Coastal Health
  • BC Housing
  • The Vancouver Police Department
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Other related sectors

Since the first official meeting in December 2013, the task force has held 11 meetings and workshops, including special sessions on stigma, addictions, and aboriginal and youth populations.

What we spend on mental health and addictions

The City currently spends an estimated $30 million per year on mental illness and addictions in Vancouver through policing and emergency response, housing, and social services.

Next steps for the task force

Next steps will include:

  • Implementing short-term actions
  • Further scoping of actions
  • The assignment of key leaders
  • Implementation strategies – with a report back to City Council next summer

How the work of the task force relates to other City initiatives

The work of the task force aligns with the goals of these related initiatives:

How we are developing solutions for better mental health and addiction services in Vancouver

Mayor's Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions meeting

Mayor's Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions

The mandate of the task force is to help the City identify priority actions to improve quality, accessibility, and choice within the system of care for people with serious mental health and addiction issues.