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B.C. funds plans for northern centre to provide health services for youth

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Long-awaited plans for a centre providing mental-health and addictions services for children and youth in northern British Columbia have received a boost from the provincial government.

Premier David Eby says on a visit to Prince George that young people in northern B.C., especially Indigenous youth, should be able to get the care they need close to home, without having to travel to Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Kamloops or Kelowna.

He says the province will contribute $675,000 to fund consultation to help design and plan programs and services for a proposed “centre of excellence” for children and youth. 

Jennifer Whiteside, minister of mental health and addictions, says in a statement that it’s essential the services are shaped by the people they are meant to support.

Lheidli T’enneh First Nation Chief Dolleen Logan says the nation will lead the consultation process, following its earlier proposal to develop a multi-use centre offering mental-health and addictions services, neurocognitive assessments and wellness programs. 

Logan says the consultation process is a first step toward the reality of young people in northern B.C. being able to access help without having to travel far.

“By doing the important work of consultation and engagement first we will begin to understand what needs to be a part of the future of the centre of excellence,” Logan said at a news conference.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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