Dear BCSS Family,

As most of you know, BCSS has been requesting letters of support from our family members to lend credence to the programs and services that BCSS provides to those affected by serious mental illness. Thank you to those who have sent in letters and have reached out to share your story. These letters and stories are critical to our requests to government and other funders for ongoing and future support. 

Similar to many provincial organizations, BCSS relies on a variety of funders, including our government, to care for families. We have also experienced many ebbs and flows in funding over the last 40 years.

In recognition of our effectiveness in helping families and building informed, caring communities, BCSS received a $3 million grant in 2016 from the provincial government. The money was to be used over five years for the development and growth of services and programs to help a larger number of people in rural and urban areas throughout BC. Since the global pandemic began in March, this grant also helped BCSS quickly adapt. BCSS continued to provide direct one-on-one support and services to families struggling with new realities and pressures, while supporting loved ones living with schizophrenia and other serious mental illness. But this grant ends on March 31, 2021.

Please know that BCSS programming will continue to exist in your region, but the services we will be able to offer families may be very different starting in the spring 2021. Even though, BCSS receives funding from a variety of sources, the end of this large grant may impact what BCSS services are available in your region. However, you, our families, are our number one concern, especially during these difficult times. BCSS recognizes that thousands of British Columbians afflicted with serious mental illness, and their families are struggling during the global COVID-19 pandemic. During this challenging time (and beyond) BCSS wants to ensure access to programs and services for families impacted by serious mental illness remains in both rural and urban areas.

We are truly grateful for the support we have received from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and Health Authorities, including Northern Health and Interior Health. We are in the process of trying to secure funding so that services will remain as uninterrupted as possible, and we are working closely with various Ministries to secure this additional funding.

Here are a couple ways you can assist: 

  1. If you have not submitted a letter of support and would be interested in doing so, please email Jean at communications@bcss.org and she can provide you with information of how you can write a letter of support. Here is the link to a template letter. We will be sharing letters that have come in as soon we can. Many thanks to those who have already submitted letters showing your support.
     
  2. Please contact your local MLA through their constituency office and let them know how continued funding to ensure BCSS’ valuable and unique services for families is important to you, your family, and/or your community. [MLA contact list: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members].

    If you choose to write a letter to your MLA, we also encourage you to cc Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health (HLTH.minister@gov.bc.ca), Honourable Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions (MMHA.minister@gov.bc.ca), and BCSS (info@bcss.org). It is important for our provincial government to hear directly from you about the role and impact BCSS has had within your family.

Since 1982, BCSS has faced many challenges, but the obstacles that BCSS faces today – and those that we will face in the future – are all similar to those that BCSS has been able to overcome in the past. And we have been able to do that because of your ongoing help and support.

In the coming months, BCSS will continue to adapt and find ways to move forward through this new landscape. But no matter what the future may hold, BCSS will find ways to support BC families who are affected by schizophrenia and other serious mental illness. You are our priority.

BCSS continues to provide “a reason to hope…the means to cope” because our family is made up of people like you. I know that you are committed to our mission – in good times and perhaps even more during uncertain times. And that is what makes our BCSS family strong.

BCSS will remain committed to helping families feel less alone, through support and education. Rest assured that families will remain our number one priority, and families like you are the heart of BCSS. 

Warmly,

Faydra Aldridge
Chief Executive Officer