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VICTORIA, B.C. – The province is investing funds to expand mental health support for women affected by trauma and violence.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions released that they would be investing $50,000 for the Bridges for Women Society to help provide women and families across the province with trauma counselling, recovery, and referral support to build resilience.

The province says the funding will support the goal of improved access and better quality, which will ensure equitable access to culturally safe and effective care outlined in A Pathway to Hope.

“For too long, women affected by violence have struggled to access the mental health supports they need to rebuild their lives,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“That’s why we are expanding services for women and their families who have not only experienced greater risk of violence, but who are also dealing with many added challenges due to the pandemic. I am grateful to Bridges for Women Society for partnering with us to support women and their families through a very difficult time in their lives.”

The Bridges for Women Society offers healing, education, and employment programs for those residing in the province who identify as members of the women community and have been affected by violence or trauma in their lives. The Society also offers programs aimed at the trauma that meet each woman where they are at without judgment or any expectations.

The ongoing pandemic has had an excessive impact on women in the province and across the country.

Around 51 per cent of women in the province have reported that their mental health has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the province. There has also been an increase in intimate partner violence, economic stress, increased caregiving responsibilities, and a reduced connection to services, friends, and family.

“During the pandemic, more women have been affected by trauma, violence, and abuse,” said Patricia Rawson, interim executive director, Bridges for Women Society. “We are grateful for this investment that provides funding for much-needed expanded supports for women and their families to heal and build connections.”

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