Vancouver council to review new grant proposal for enhancing mental health services

Vancouver city council is set to review recommendations for a $2.8 million grant to Vancouver Coastal Health that Mayor Ken Sim contends will "enhance urgent mental health services."

Sim says the investment, along with a funding allocation from council to hire 100 more police officers, will "bolster Vancouver's frontline mental health and public safety response."

He says the bulk of the new funding -- $2.5 million -- will be used to hire 58 new mental health workers.

Sim says Vancouver's annual grant to the health authority will grow to $8 million and future phases may include more "proactive responses to mental health," such as greater outreach efforts and services to help those recovering from a crisis back into the community.

He says this is an opportunity for the city to set a new standard in North America for a "modern and compassionate approach" to address the often interlinked challenges around public safety and mental health.

Sim's party, ABC Vancouver, was elected on promises to hire 100 more police officers and 100 more mental health nurses to address public safety concerns.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2023.

The Canadian Press