Province unveils 'leading-edge' mental health, addictions hub
The emergency room of St. Paul's Hospital is seen in this image from July 2018.
The British Columbia government says it is breaking new ground when it comes to treating those with mental health and addictions issues with a "leading-edge" health-care model unveiled at a downtown Vancouver hospital Tuesday.
According to the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the St. Paul's Hospital HUB has four main components that will work in tandem to provide a "protective umbrella of wraparound services designed to support patients, no matter where they are on their journey to wellness and hope."
The emergency department, or HUB ED, has 10 beds dedicated to assessing and helping those in emergency situations stemming from mental health challenges or substance use.
"This will not only provide better care to people in need, it will also decrease emergency room congestion and wait times," the ministry said in a statement.
From there, patients can be referred to the Rapid Access Addiction Clinic for outpatient medical support or to other existing services aimed at helping those who at a high risk of overdosing.
Patients who enter the new care model can also referred to the Vancouver Police Foundation's Transitional Care Centre, a short-term care facility designed to help those with substance abuse issues re-enter the community with the resources and supports they need.
"A mental health and addictions system of care where every door is the right door, and where people ask for help once and get help fast, is the system we are building toward in British Columbia," Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy said in a statement.
An harm-reduction site will be located just outside the hospital. There, trained staff will "assist people with safe substance use in a judgement-free setting and connect people with emergency care, if needed."
According to the province, the new model is also aimed and ensuring Indigenous people receive "culturally appropriate and culturally safe care" through an Indigenous health team and healing programs.
Artist Jerry Whitehead has also partnered with the program to create safe spaces through artwork that reflects the importance of Indigenous culture.
The St. Paul's HUB is a joint initiative between several levels governments, health authorities and non-profits, including the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health and the St. Pauls' Foundation.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos