Our Advocacy Efforts

In August 2020, we participated in the House of Commons 2021 Pre-Budget Consultation Process by submitting five recommendations to support the mental health community. We hope you’ll join us in asking for vital community-based mental health services: Help us solve the puzzle in mental health.


      1. Ask for permanent housing with supports

      2. Ensure people in need have access to food programs

      3. Save lives with harm reduction services

      4. Bridge the gap in technology needs for nonprofits

      5. Together, let’s create jobs that include everyone


How you can get involved?


1. Permanent housing with mental health supports help create strong and inclusive communities:

Temporary modular housing developments shouldn’t be a life-long solution. Our communities need permanent housing with mental health supports to build strong and inclusive communities.
  • Although temporary housing solutions (such as the Maple Ridge Modulars pictured above), do play an important part in providing homes to people who are homeless, further investments are needed in long-term solutions for people living with mental illness.

Permanent housing with mental health support offers its residents the security and stability they need as part of their recovery. This maximizes their opportunity to move onto more independent living by giving them much-needed community connections and life skills.


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and stay updated with our efforts in advocacy and fundraising.

  • Everybody deserves to live in a home and to be part of a community. Permanent housing with mental health supports assists people in their recovery, giving them the life skills and community connections for more independent living.

  • Unlike temporary housing, permanent housing creates economic development in community-based supports in primary and enhanced health care services and treatment programs.

  • Permanent housing with supports offers an immediate solution to our unsustainable health care system by reducing the numbers of hospital visits and emergency calls to ambulance services , local police departments and the criminal justice system.

  • In an emergency situation like the COVID-19 crisis, housing that includes mental health teams remains an essential service in keeping B.C. communities safe

“It has given me a better quality of life knowing that I have stable housing now.”   Read Michelle’s story.


2. Why we need to address household food insecurity:

Food service at Coast

The Clubhouse and the Resources Centre continue to provide 80 to 100 daily meals to support vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Nutritious meals are important for a healthy body and mind. The scarcity of food has a serious impact on people with mental illness and substance-use disorders, placing them at a higher risk of a relapse, or a sudden decline in health.

  • Rising food prices and limited resources prevent non-profit organizations from offering reliable meal programs to the people in most need. Without these programs in place people go hungry.


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and stay updated with our efforts in advocacy and fundraising.


Connecting critical food services to vulnerable populations

man with food

Stephen relies on the daily meals available to members at CMH’s Clubhouse located in Vancouver. Without food programs like this, people living with mental illness could go hungry.  Read more…

3. Save lives with community-based harm reduction services and safe supply:

Coast Mental Health’s Outreach Services and our Street Walk Team provide vital harm reduction supplies and supports to vulnerable populations. This shouldn’t be the only solution. We need to provide better access to harm reduction services and drug treatment programs to save lives and help people overcome their opioid dependency.

  • We need to acknowledge and treat the opioid crisis as a national health crisis, not a criminal justice issue. By providing better access to harm reduction services and drug treatment programs, we offer people the dignity and respect they need to overcome their opioid dependency.

  • British Columbians are dying because of the lethal toxicity in the current drug supply. To prevent overdoses and save lives, we need to provide access to safe supply and community-based consumption sites, as well as designated abstinence-based treatment facilities.


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and stay updated with our efforts in advocacy and fundraising.

Quick Fact:

People with substance-use disorders are up to three times more likely to have mental illness. More than 15 per cent of people with a substance use disorder have co-occurring mental illness.

Retrieved from: Canadian Mental Health Association website, Facts & Statistics

  • Together, we have the opportunity to create the infrastructure to encourage community-based harm reduction supports. Harm reduction services are urgently needed to prevent overdoses from happening, but they also help reduce the harm caused by illegal drugs, such as a criminal record, stigma, poverty and long-term health issues.

Pilot Opioid Agonist Therapy clinic for youth saves lives

Vancouver BOOST collaborators, Coast Mental Health and the Foundry (Vancouver)  post results of a two-day-a-week Opioid Agonist Therapy clinic offered to young adults.  The findings suggest a need for more harm reduction services and safe supply in our communities.  Read more…

4. Bridge the gap in technology for nonprofits:

Cognitive e-learning tools build wellness for clients enrolled in Coast Mental Health’s Rehabilitation and Recovery Program
  • The pandemic has increased the seriousness of the technology gap between the e-commerce economy and non-profit organizations that lack the IT systems needed to manage the demand for community-based support services in health care. Technology is an essential overhead expense for any business, including non-profit organizations. Further investments in IT management are needed to help the non-profit sector operate efficiently and serve more people in the community.

  • During the pandemic, e-learning tools in mental health would have helped our front-line workers administer essential care to the mental health community. Many members opting to remain at home during the crisis, but they’re still in need of supports to manage their wellness at home. Investments in technology infrastructure and e-mental health services for non-profit organizations would provide many more people, often living in rural areas, with lifesaving tools and resources.


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and stay updated with our efforts in advocacy and fundraising.


In collaboration with Premium Brand Holdings Corporation,
Coast Mental Health embarks on a new initiative to develop an e-mental health approach for community-based mental health care.
Learn more…

  • To maintain our connections with clients and staff, we urgently need resources to increase Internet bandwidth; to ensure security measures are in place to prevent the unauthorized access to computer systems; as well as an investment in performance level enhancements to host e-mental health platforms.

  • Sadly, poverty is a social barrier that prevents a number of our clients from plugging into the digital world and accessing the information and health care services they need to manage their wellness. Computer access and an Internet connection should be available to everyone— so no one is left behind: We believe access to the internet should be a human right.

Technology access for all

two women talking

E-mental health tools are a critical component for front-line workers who administer care to people living with mental health challenges.  Read our latest editorial: Technology Is The New Frontline For Mental Health Supports

5. We need specialized employment services to support the mental health community:

Employment lifts people out of poverty, and promotes purpose, dignity, and wellness. For people in sustained recovery from mental illness or substance use, a job can offer a fresh start. It gives people the motivation, routine and social connections to stay well. Yet, members of the mental health community face many challenges in finding suitable employment
  • Our communities lack employment services to support people who are out of work due to episodic illness or because they are living with a mental health challenge.

  • Current government employment programs lack the flexibility to respond to the needs of the mental health community, transferring this essential service to nonprofits. Nonprofits require further investments in this area to provide training and mental health services to help people gain job-ready skills and manage their mental health.


Pledge your support

and stay updated with our efforts in advocacy and fundraising.

Quick fact:
In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness or a substance use disorder. In any given week, at least 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental health problems.

Retrieved from:
Canadian Mental Health Association website, Facts and Statistics

  • We need a significant investment in specialized employment services that are customized to meet the needs of the mental health community, including funding to assist employers who are interested in building healthy and inclusive neighbourhoods.

The dignity of a job

Read Matt’s story…

“I started in janitorial work,” says Matt, “so I worked 2 to 3 days a week cleaning Coast Mental Health’s Clubhouse and cleaning the office side as well. I really enjoyed it. And then they asked me if I wanted to do street cleaning, so I did both at the same time — the janitorial work and the street cleaning! That was harder, because I had to go during the day to Coast Clubhouse and wait 3 or 4 hours for my next shift — but it was good too because I got to know everybody in Coast Clubhouse.”


Your donation to Coast Mental Health Foundation provides essential housing, support, and employment services for people with mental illness so they can find their meaningful place in our community – a place to live, a place to connect, and a place to work.