Building an equitable foundation: Removing barriers to access for people with mental health and substance-use related disabilities
Milne, K. & Hamfelt, A.
People living with a mental illness or substance use related disability require access to fair and equal services that respond to their disability-related needs. They need assistance to overcome any barriers they face. BC public service providers, including the provincial government, are required to provide services that are accessible to people with disability-related needs, unless there is a justifiable reason they cannot. To fail to give equal and fair access to services or meet the needs of people with disabilities without an adequate reason is discrimination. That’s why CMHA BC is committed to improving access to our public services and promoting social inclusion. In this report, we focus on subsidized and supported housing, disability assistance and WorkBC employment supports because of how important they are for building a foundation for wellness. This focus is supported by our community research with BC residents, who have lived and living experience of a mental health or substance use-related health issue. We asked them whether they had access to public services and, if they did not, how it impacted their mental health, well-being and use of substances. Many people very clearly told us that barriers to accessing services impacted their ability to build a solid foundation for improving their health, or relationship with substances.