Over the past year, Pain BC continued to dynamically adapt our work and offerings to meet the challenges of the evolving pandemic. At the same time, we laid the groundwork for new bold new initiatives to broaden our reach, mobilize our community, and make meaningful change to enhance the well-being of people with pain.
Our work with the Canadian Pain Task Force culminated in the public release of Health Canada’s An Action Plan for Pain in Canada, a comprehensive plan for targeted actions to improve outcomes for people living with chronic pain and to reduce its impact on families, communities, and society. Pain BC led national advocacy efforts to call for the implementation of these recommendations through the #PrioritizePain campaign, which brought together people with pain and their families, health and social organizations, and health leaders, reaching over 2.7 million people through social media alone.
In response to the Action Plan and the growing momentum on the issue of pain, Pain BC has been called to do more to bring pain advocates together. To meet that call, we built the foundation for launching a national, multi-stakeholder action network in 2022 – Pain Canada – bringing together people living with pain, clinicians, researchers, policy makers, non-profits, employers and others.
As COVID-19 continued to limit access to supports people living with pain rely on, our Pain Support Line and our Coaching for Health program saw a significant increase in both the numbers of clients and the complexity of client needs. To better meet the needs of clients, particularly those from communities that are socially marginalized, we redesigned our training program for volunteer coaches with an equity, diversity and inclusion lens. We also adapted this training material for our Pain Support and Wellness Group facilitators; the groups had an all-time high number of meeting attendances in 2021, with people joining virtually from 68 communities across BC.
We engaged more than 500 people with pain and dozens of health leaders in the development of LivePlanBe+, a dynamic new online pain self-management program launching in 2022. Provincially, we provided input on ICBC’s new “Enhanced Care” model of insurance, developing an online training course to enable ICBC Recovery Specialists to provide effective, stigma-free support to people living with pain as the result of a motor vehicle accident.
Further, we laid the foundations for the BC Adaptive Mentorship Network for Pain, Mental Health and Substance Use (BCAMN), a professional mentorship program that launches spring 2022 and builds primary care capacity to support people living with chronic pain, mental health and substance use conditions. We also led the development of a new curriculum that teaches health care providers about the intersections between trauma, violence, pain, substance use health and stigma so they can further develop equity-oriented approaches to practice.
There is still so much work to do, but through our collective efforts, change is being realized. We’re so grateful to you – our community of supporters, collaborators, donors, and volunteers. Your many contributions and steadfast commitment will help us ensure that no one is alone with pain.