People in Nanaimo living with substance-use challenges have access to new sobering, assessment and stabilization services, as B.C. continues to build a comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care.
Through Island Health, the Province is expanding existing mental-health and addictions care services by adding four new sobering and assessment beds and four new stabilization beds. These beds will provide safe places where people can be connected to life-saving services and supports.
“People in Nanaimo with substance-use challenges need urgent access to services right here in our community,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “These new sobering, assessment and stabilization beds are an important part of the full continuum of mental-health and substance-use care that we are building for people who need these life-saving services.”
The sobering and assessment beds opened April 4, 2022, and are operated by Vancouver Island Mental Health Society at Balmoral House. The stabilization beds opened April 11, 2022, at Crescent House and are operated by Island Crisis Care Society.
“Island Health is thrilled to partner with these long-standing, well-respected social service organizations in Nanaimo,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health. “Both organizations work tirelessly to meet the needs of their clients. Island Health is grateful to our community-service partners who play crucial roles in delivering services to clients and building the relationships that are foundational to creating trust and supporting people in the long term.”
The sobering and assessment beds are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offer a safe place for people under significant influence of substances to rest and be monitored. While there, they can be connected to other health and social services and can access resources to meet their basic needs. The stabilization beds can support people for as long as 30 days and include opportunities to connect with services to support their health and healing.
Funding for these beds is part of the Province’s $500-million investment in Budget 2021 focused on building a comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care.
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan –
“As we continue to lose lives to the extremely toxic illicit drug supply, these new substance-use services are welcome news for our community. They will provide our most vulnerable residents with an opportunity to be in a safe place where they can get connected to the supports that can save their lives and get them on the path to healing.”
Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum –
“Today’s announcement means that people with substance-use challenges in our region will be able to get more supports close to home. Our government is listening to the needs of people and investing in solutions that will benefit our communities.”
Taryn O’Flanagan, executive director, Vancouver Island Mental Health Society –
“Sobering and assessment beds provide a safe place where acutely intoxicated individuals can sleep, be assessed and receive basic services and supports. People are supported by a team of staff that are compassionate, non-judgmental and ready to provide client-centred supports to meet the needs of the individual.”
Violet Hayes, executive director, Island Crisis Care Society –
“Stabilization beds can be the first step toward a journey to recovery. We provide a place where people can stay for several weeks while they gain some stability, begin to connect with services, and think about what the next steps in their substance-use journey might be.”
- People can access the sobering and assessment beds through self-referral or referrals by any social-service agency, health-care organization, law enforcement agency, emergency services personnel or any member of the community.
- Vancouver Island Mental Health Society will operate eight sobering and assessment beds at Balmoral House – four new beds and four that are being relocated from Crescent House.
- Island Crisis Care Society will convert four of their existing sobering and assessment beds at Crescent House into stabilization beds, adding these to the the two stabilization beds they already offer.
- People can access the stabilization beds through Island Health’s mental-health and substance-use community outreach services.
Vancouver Island Mental Health Society: https://www.vancouverislandmentalhealthsociety.org/
Island Crisis Care Society: https://www.islandcrisiscaresociety.ca/
A Pathway to Hope: A roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in B.C.: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf