More mental health, substance-use services coming to Vernon

People in Vernon will have access to new and expanded mental health and substance-use services as government continues to build a comprehensive system of care throughout British Columbia.

Through Interior Health, the Province will add four new services and expand four others, as well as recruit 19 full-time equivalent workers to provide substance-use and mental health supports in Vernon and nearby communities.

“People throughout the North Okanagan will benefit from this major expansion of mental health and substance-use services in Vernon,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Building mental health and substance-use care in every B.C. community is our government’s commitment, because this system of care did not exist five years ago.” 

Recruitment for these new and expanded programs is underway, with some services expected to be available as early as April 2022.

“Within our region it is estimated that more than 20% of people will meet the criteria for substance-use disorder at some point in their lifetime,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO, Interior Health. “The services announced today will help build a well-connected, safe, and person-centred network of treatment and support for people with problematic substance use.”

Young people aged 12 to 24 with significant substance-use concerns and concurrent disorders who face challenges accessing health or social services will have the support of a new interdisciplinary intensive case management team.

Additionally, substance-use counselling services will be available for young people aged 12 to 24 along with their families, and young adults aged 18 to 24 who have complex substance-use needs will have access to individual, group and family substance use day treatment programs. Another newly introduced service in Vernon provides a priority response to young people aged 12 to 24 who have recently had an opioid overdose or are at high risk for drug poisoning. Youth Substance Use Connections connects them to available community services, such as medication-assisted treatment.

Existing programs, such as early substance-use intervention, early psychosis intervention and eating disorders treatment services are expanding to reach more people with mental health and substance-use challenges. In addition, the nurse prescriber working at the downtown mental health and substance use centre can now prescribe more options for medication assisted treatment of opioid-use disorder.

Expanding substance use services and enhancing B.C.’s response to the toxic drug crisis is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for building the comprehensive system of mental health and substance use care British Columbians deserve.

Quotes:

Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee –

“For people in the North Okanagan who are struggling and in crisis, the addition of these substance-use services will make a big difference in their lives. These are the services our community needs to transform mental health and substance-use care for children, youth, young adults and their families.”

Rachel Haskett, peer support worker, Interior Health –

“Services being announced today will increase awareness, reduce stigma, help people access supports to get off and stay off drugs.”

Learn More:

Vernon downtown mental health and substance use centre: https://www.interiorhealth.ca/locations/vernon-downtown-mental-health-substance-use

For more information on A Pathway to Hope, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf

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