Mental health projects receive $2.9 million

November 13, 2014

VANCOUVER – British Columbians with mental health and substance use issues will receive increased support, thanks to $2.9 million in Community Action Initiative grants.

The Community Action Initiative (CAI), a provincewide program that supports mental health and substance use groups throughout B.C., recently awarded the service innovation grants to 16 community-based projects that promote positive mental health for British Columbians.

Through the Ministry of Health, the CAI funds mental health projects and strategies that help prevent the use of substances and improve services and supports for individuals and families who are recovering from mental health and/or substance use challenges.

CAI supports local agencies to work with families, and community and cultural agencies in their regions to take action and find innovative ways to address mental health, substance use and unhealed trauma.

This year’s projects offer a range of activities and programs, from farming and harvesting, to recreation, to arts and crafts, to Aboriginal therapy and healing circles, to peer mentorship, group sessions and educational workshops.

To date, CAI has funded 227 grants totalling $9.6 million that serve a mix of 79 rural, urban, remote, and Aboriginal communities in British Columbia. A detailed list of grants can be viewed at:

The CAI is a key complement to the Province’s comprehensive 10-year plan – Healthy Minds, Healthy People – which aims to address mental health and substance use across the lifespan in B.C. The plan focuses on prevention, early intervention, treatment and sustainability. This funding also aligns with A Path Forward, the Province’s 10-year plan to address mental wellness and substance use for First Nations and Aboriginal people in B.C., by supporting unique, culturally specific projects for Aboriginal peoples and their families.


Terry Lake, Health Minister ─

“The reality is that one in five British Columbians is affected by mental health and substance use challenges. Government is pleased to support the CAI in their efforts to increase access to meaningful, positive support for individuals who struggle with mental health and substance use issues. Thank you and congratulations to this year’s grant recipients.”

Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development ─

“Supporting the entire family unit is essential when dealing with mental health or substance use challenges. That’s why it is so important that children, youth, and adults have access to the added support these programs provide. Congratulations to this year’s grant recipients.”

Michelle Fortin, Community Action Initiative co-chair —

“By supporting these community-based activities, the CAI is making a direct impact in communities and the lives of individuals, and their families, dealing with mental illness and/or substance use challenges. These local activities add to the suite of resources already supported by the CAI, and will provide more options for families looking for support.”

Quick Facts:

  • In 2008, the B.C. government established the Community Action Initiative (CAI) through an initial $10 million grant; and a further $15 million grant in April 2013.
  • The CAI is governed by a Leadership Council that includes community-based mental health and substance use organizations, professional associations, Aboriginal organizations, and labour, business and provincial ministries.
  • The CAI funding includes three specific funding streams:
  • Convening – grants of up to $10,000 to establish partnerships, plan collaboratively and prepare grant applications before they apply for stage-two (service innovation) funding for their projects.
  • Service innovation – grants of up to $200,000 to support the implementation of proposed service innovation projects.
  • Training – to enhance the ability of community organizations to share knowledge and deliver mental health and substance use supports and services in more effective and innovative ways.

Learn More:

A backgrounder follows.

Media Contact:
Kristy Anderson
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)



November 13, 2014

2014 Service Innovation Grant recipients

The British Columbia Schizophrenia Society is receiving $191,190 to redesign Strengthening Families, an educational resource for First Nations and Aboriginal families coping with mental illness. The redesign will involve collaboration with diverse stakeholders and Aboriginal families in Chilliwack, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Haida Gwaii, Kamloops, Powell River, Smithers, Terrace and Williams Lake.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (Kelowna and District) will be receiving $200,000 for their Caring for the Caregivers (CFTC) program. Through peer groups, service referrals, and case co-ordination, and access to professional therapy and primary care services, the program supports parents and caregivers of children, youth and dependent adults in the Kelowna area that are experiencing mental illness and/or substance use problems.

The Cowichan Green Community Society will be receiving $198,278 to allow families impacted by mental illness, problematic substance use, and/or unhealed trauma to participate in the KinPark Urban Farm for Families project in the Cowichan region. Participants can take part in a prevention-oriented drop-in program that offers a variety of therapeutic activities including workshops, arts and crafts, recreation, and mentorship with community food producers.

The DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society will receive $180,000 to allow more Karen and Somali youth and their families to access culturally-appropriate, first language mental health support through the Youth Powered, Lens on Life program in Surrey.

The Doukhobor Heritage Retreat Society will be receiving $178,500 to support Project Connect, a nature-based program in Castlegar where youth and caregivers from three communities will build connectedness and rebuild relationships by engaging in monthly recreation activities and psycho-educational workshops.

The DRS Earthwise Society will receive $185,000 for their Therapeutic Horticulture Community Program to help families reduce isolation and facilitate community involvement while connecting to the natural world in Delta. Shared activities at Earthwise Garden and Farm, including therapeutic horticulture and recreation activities, are part of the program.

The Lakes District Family Enhancement Society will be receiving $200,000 to provide maternal figures and male partners of women attending programs at the College of New Caledonia access to group sessions and individual services in an Aboriginal context to help them improve their own mental health and well-being.

The MIKI’SIW Metis Association will receive $200,000 for their Together We Can: Healing Through Culture program in the Comox Valley. Aboriginal children and their families taking part in the program will have access to intergenerational cultural programs and gatherings to help foster resiliency, improve mental health and create a sense of belonging and identity, and includes participation from Aboriginal Elders, knowledge keepers, artists and storytellers.

The Nanaimo Women’s Resources Society will be receiving $188,732 for The Place, a gathering place in Nanaimo where families can take part in creative and cultural programs that will reduce isolation and social stigma, and increase community connectedness among participants.

The Mental Illness Family Support Society will receive $89,750 to allow individuals and families affected by mental illness and substance use to participate in the Farm Friends Program. Through this program, individuals in Vernon participate in horticultural activities to connect to their community and experience better mental health and awareness.

The Nenan Dane zaa Deh Zona Family Services Society will receive $200,000 to allow more First Nations, Aboriginal and Metis families to participate in PATH (Positive Acceptance, Trust and Healing program) in Fort St. John. Participants can be a part of traditional decision Making healing circles to develop paths of trust, encourage positive change and create support networks.

The Richmond Family Place Society will be receiving $200,000 to provide peer mentoring and group work through their Richmond Refugee Mental Health Access Project which focuses on building resiliency and culture for refugee children and families.

The Tsawwassen First Nation will receive $200,000 to support families affected by the unhealed trauma of childhood sexual abuse, including the intergenerational effects of Residential Schools through their Partnering for Health – Re-envisioning Communities Program that provides access to counselling, cultural activities and community justice provided to adult survivors, offenders and their families.

The Upper Skeena Development Centre Society will be receiving $172,000 for their Partnering for Health – Resilient Communities Program in Hazelton. Young adults (aged 17-30) and families living with mental health and substance use problems can participate in small-scale agriculture and wild food harvesting and will have access to supported employment in market gardens, commercial food production and food retail outlets.

The Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre Society will be receiving $199,890 to support Aboriginal individuals and families struggling with significant unresolved trauma, addictions and mental health issues. The program includes therapy for complex trauma, body work (Tao Shiatsu), and cultural healing ceremonies.

The Vancouver Native Health Society will be receiving $200,000 for their Vancouver Indigenous Elders Partnership project designed to help patients of Vancouver Native Health Society gain positive cultural identity through relationships with Indigenous Elders, as part of their routine health care. Participants will also have access to cultural activities and workshops.

Media Contact:

Kristy Anderson
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:


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