Visions: BC’s Mental Health and Substance Use Journal

Starting conversations about mental health and substance use can be challenging

Where do you begin? How do you create a safe and respectful space, both for yourself and those you care about?

Visions Journal is a free, quarterly magazine written by and for people who have experienced mental health or substance use problems, or used mental health or addictions services – along with service providers, family and friends, community advocates, leaders, and decision-makers.

Visions is – a trusted voice of lived experience guided by experts in mental health. It’s a forum for all British Columbians, and a place to explore views on wellness, share experiences, learn from others, and discuss ideas. Readers can use Visions for self-reflection and as an educational resource. Topics include a range of recurring and timely issues, such as recovery, wellness, work, housing, Covid-19, and more.

Trust is at the core of Visions magazine. We’re pleased to know that people not only subscribe to the magazine, but they actually use the information to improve their mental health. We sent a survey to Visions readers from July to November 2020 and received 902 responses, including 152 from Canadians.


Among Canadian respondents:


found Visions useful


recommended it to others


used articles to improve their wellbeing


read visions from cover to cover

Among Canadian service provider respondents:


recommend Visions


used information from Visions to help patients, clients, or families

As an experienced clinician, I always learn something new.

Very intelligent and well written. It is a lifeboat for quick professional information on relevant topics.

I like that some of the articles are research-based, from experts, but written clearly. I value that there are also articles from people with lived experience that provide rich information to put the expert’s information in context. Visions approaches challenging topics with care and deep respect, and provides useful information and resources.

Promoting Effective Governance

Reflecting lived experiences sets Visions apart from other publications. The magazine comes alongside people where they are, instead of telling them what to do. We make no assumptions – and we work to reflect this approach from the leadership to the editorial board to contributors and readers.

In the past year, we improved governance through increased collaboration in several important ways:

  • Created role clarity and agreed on how to align the participation / effort level with budgets from the seven partner agencies
  • Revised our Terms of Reference (originally created in 2019/20)
  • Responded to reader-suggested changes and topics, including more visuals, more experiential stories, and topical coverage (Covid-19 and systemic racism) for future Visions issues
  • Recruited more diverse membership for the editorial board to enrich content, deepen engagement, and ultimately expand readership

Staying relevant in a fast-changing world

The Visions team regularly surveys readers, who vote on themes for upcoming issues, such as housing and supporting family members. We aim to provide relevant and useful information on mental health and substance use by asking British Columbians what they want to see in the magazine.

We’re pleased to report positive responses from the BC Partners and community agencies.

  • 16% increase in e-Visions emails opened compared to the previous year
  • 51% increase in e-Visions emails opened from the systemic racism issue