People who experience acute and severe mental health challenges which significantly impact on their day-to-day life, can now receive recovery-oriented, trauma-informed treatment through an intensive Island Health day program based in Victoria.
The new Bridging Care day program provides short-term (average four weeks duration) skills-based services and transitional supports for people who might otherwise need to be admitted to the hospital for psychiatric care.
"When you're facing serious mental health challenges, getting the right help at the right time is crucial. Hospital stays aren't always the best or only option," said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "The new Bridging Care program in Victoria offers a different path. It's a welcoming place where people can build skills to better manage their mental health, and a kind team of professionals is there to guide them. This paves the way for a smoother recovery journey.”
The program can accommodate up to 15 people at a time. People need to be referred to the program from a health care professional. Admission to Bridging Care is based on acuity and suitability and the client’s capacity and willingness to attend the intensive program which operates Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The program is located at Eric Martin Pavilion at the Royal Jubilee Hospital campus.
“Bridging Care supports people experiencing a mental health crisis related to anxiety, depression or trauma and who have challenges regulating emotions or coping with distress,” said Dr. Wei Song, Executive Medical Director of Mental Health and Substance Use for Island Health. “The program equips clients with the skills and strategies they need to learn more about their illness and how to manage it, and provides them with strategies to pursue their recovery goals.”
Bridging Care provides a welcoming, non-judgmental outpatient setting to avoid or shorten inpatient stays in the hospital. Bridging Care clients are expected to be active in the program every day, participating in recovery-focused treatment like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, group-based recovery, life-skills, movement, yoga, art, mindfulness, goal setting, art therapy and other therapies and supports.
“The Bridging Care day program is a critical part of providing effective mental health care in our community,” said Murray Rankin, MLA Oak Bay-Gordon Head. “Offering this program at the Royal Jubilee Hospital will help people build skills, support them to achieve their goals, and help them feel more confident about their wellness in the short and long term.”
While in the program, participants attend daily groups, participate in discussion and practise skills. Outside of group work, they try the new skills learned in the group, complete ‘homework’, receive 1:1 counselling support and have access to nursing and Psychiatry.
In addition to bridging hospital and community-based services, Bridging Care also links to further supports in the community as clients require – these may included Urgent Short Term Treatment and Assessment, Mental Wellness Day Program, transition to primary care/GP.
Bridging Care participants must be safe to be in the community without needing 24 hour supervision, be able to meaningfully participate in short-term skill-based learning and have the willingness to learn recovery-orientated skills in a group environment.
About Island Health:
Island Health provides health and care services to more than 885,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 30,000 health-care professionals, including more than 3,000 doctors, nurse practitioners, midwives and dentists that make up our Medical Staff – as well as 1,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of 12 foundations and 19 active auxiliaries – Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and substance use services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge and geographically diverse region.