The past year has been one of substantial growth for Pain BC. Perhaps most significantly, we have expanded our direct supports for people with pain with the launch of two new programs: Pain Support and Wellness Groups and Making Sense of Pain, each with the goal of providing education and connection to people with pain in a way that that meets them where they are, both in their communities and in their experience of pain and well-being.
Our Pain Support and Wellness Groups were launched in communities throughout the province, including in many smaller towns that have few other pain services. The groups provide free, ongoing, in-person support to learn about pain management and coping strategies while building supportive community networks. Making Sense of Pain is a first-of-its-kind class series designed to provide equal opportunities for education and support for people who live with pain in addition to poverty, trauma, mental illness, substance use and systemic racism. The program is available in two streams, a general program for people of all backgrounds and one intended for Indigenous communities, designed to be culturally relevant and safe, and is led by an Indigenous Elder.
Making Sense of Pain is just one initiative stemming from our increased focus on meeting the needs of people with pain from marginalized communities. In 2019, we also engaged people with pain from the LGBTQ2S, Indigenous, and newcomer/refugee communities in partnership with researchers from the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. This work allowed us to better understand how to improve care for people living with chronic pain who also experience marginalization. What we learned from this work will inform our efforts in 2020 as we continue to work to improve the systems intended to support all people with pain.
In 2019, our Board of Directors refreshed our strategic plan and committed to begin scaling our work nationally. To support that effort, the Board has strengthened its membership and increased its focus on diversifying Pain BC’s revenue sources.
The focus on national growth could not be more timely. In the spring of 2019 Pain BC was honoured to join the Canadian Pain Task Force (CPTF), which was formed by the federal government to examine the current state of pain in Canada, outline an improved approach to treatment, education and research, and support uptake of this approach across the country. We will continue to support the Task Force’s work for the duration of its three-year mandate.
Your support of our work in 2019 makes it possible for us to expand the reach of our programs and champion the diverse needs of people with pain across the country in 2020. Your steadfast commitment allows us to enhance the well-being of all people living with pain through empowerment, care, education and innovation in BC, and beyond.
Finlay Sinclair, MCiP, RPP