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New substance-use, mental health services coming to the Interior

People in the Okanagan living with mental health and substance-use challenges will have access to new treatment and recovery services as government responds to the rising need due to the toxic drug supply.

Through Interior Health, the Province is adding 22 new adult substance-use beds to serve people in the Okanagan. Government is also working with the Interior Health, BC Housing and local service providers to bring complex care housing to Kelowna and Kamloops to support people living with complex mental health and substance use, who have been caught in a cycle of evictions, shelters, and often emergency rooms and jail cells.

When people with substance-use challenges are ready to take a step toward recovery, they need urgent access to services right here in the Okanagan,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “By adding new treatment beds and initiating complex care housing in both Kelowna and Kamloops, we are building a full continuum of mental health and substance-use care for people throughout the Interior. I’m grateful to Interior Health and our community partners for their vital work to build connections and provide care to those who need it.”

Interior Health will work with The Bridge Youth and Family Services Society in Kelowna to open 22 new adult beds, 13 of which will be dedicated to withdrawal management, nine for transition and stabilization care. These new services are part of Budget 2021’s historic $500-million investment to continue building a comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care.

“People throughout the central Okanagan will benefit as we bring these new substance use beds into service,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO, Interior Health. “Together with The Bridge Youth & Family Services, we will further enhance our efforts towards adding treatment and supports for people with problematic substance use.”

Government has also invested $164 million through Budget 2022 to build complex-care housing throughout the province in order to serve up to 500 vulnerable people. This investment includes funding to plan for complex-care housing projects in Kelowna and Kamloops. This funding is on top of the new complex-care housing locations announced in January for Vancouver, Abbotsford and Surrey.

“Today’s announcement marks a significant provincial investment in the health and well-being of people throughout the region,” said Celine Thompson, executive director, The Bridge Youth & Family Services. “It more than doubles our capacity to support individuals who need the resources to safely withdraw from alcohol and other drugs. It sets the stage for us to provide a more responsive, accessible and continuous system of recovery care.”

Enhancing BC’s substance-use system of care is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, BC’s roadmap for building a comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care.

Quotes:

Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee –

“When people want support and treatment, they need a safe place to access those services in the Okanagan. These stabilization and withdrawal management beds will be essential to those who need it most, and the addition of a complex-care facility in the future will help keep our communities vibrant while getting people the help they need.”

Patrick Spinks, board president, The Bridge Youth & Family Services –

“The impact of this investment can’t be overstated: wait time will be significantly reduced; individuals in need of our ongoing care will not be discharged to homelessness; we will provide the wrap-around support and continuous care that individuals struggling with their mental health and addiction need, and deserve.”

Brittany Vincze, peer support worker with Interior Health –

“I can’t express enough what a huge benefit these beds will provide those who are newly recovering from opioids and other substances. They will provide a safe, stigma-free place to land with supports as clients recover and start anew.”

Quick Facts:

  • On top of these 22 beds, there are 3,201 publicly funded community substance-use beds throughout the province, including 3,096 adult beds and 142 youth beds.
  • Transition and stabilization beds provide low to moderate supports in a residential setting, providing treatment, case management and support, while transitioning to a more stable lifestyle or awaiting or returning from intensive residential treatment.
  • Withdrawal management (or detox) is provided in a community residential setting where the acute stages of withdrawal can be medically assessed by a physician and monitored by a health-care professional.
  • Complex care housing provides support for people who have overlapping mental health, substance use, trauma and acquired brain injuries and are often left to experience homelessness or at risk of eviction.
  • Supports are available where people live, including services from nurses, peers, social workers and other health professionals.

LearnMore:

Learn about A Pathway to Hope, our government’s vision for mental health and addictions care in BC: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0049-001787

Learn about funding for the BC system of substance-use treatment, recovery care: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0055-001962

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