Premier Announces New Mental Health Centre at VGH
Health Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:40 AM

VANCOUVER - Premier Christy Clark today announced a new mental health facility will be built at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).

"Mental illness takes a terrible toll on not just the patient, but on their entire family as well," said Premier Clark. "This new centre will help many of those families to cope as their loved one goes through the recovery process. I'd like to thank everyone who has been a part of making this facility a reality, especially Joseph and Rosalie Segal, whose financial contribution will go a long way in assisting British Columbians who suffer from mental illness."

The new facility will consolidate mental-health inpatient and outpatient services. The new centre will replace the soon-to-be-demolished building on the VGH campus, which is no longer suitable for meeting the care needs of mental-health clients.

"Mental illness not only affects all ages and all walks of life, it also represents extensive costs to the health-care system," said Health Minister Michael de Jong. "The new mental-health centre at VGH will provide better care for those with mental illness and help reduce the strain on the health budget."

With this commitment to build, further planning and the finalization of a project business plan can proceed, confirming the scope of the project. It's expected to take approximately three years to design and build the facility once the business plan and scope are finalized.

"I'd like to thank the provincial government for today's announcement that we are moving ahead with planning for a new mental centre at VGH," said Vancouver Coastal Health CEO and president Dr. David Ostrow. "This is definitely good news for patients and their families."

"This facility will provide adults with severe and debilitating mental illnesses with the specialized care and support they need," said Laura Case, director of mental health and addictions, Vancouver. "A specialized centre like this will not only improve the patient experience and, as a result, their outcome but will also be a vital resource for mental-health professionals across British Columbia."

The new mental-health centre is projected to cost approximately $73 million, but that may change once the business plan is finalized. The Province is contributing approximately $48 million to the project. The VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and its corporate and private donors have committed $25 million toward the new mental health centre, and Vancouver philanthropists Joseph and Rosalie Segal gave $12 million towards the project, one of the largest-ever personal gifts for mental health in Canada.

"Not only does mental health affect the person who has the disease; it also impacts friends, family members, businesses and the community as well. Rosalie and I are pleased that plans for the centre are now moving ahead. Our province needs this," said Joseph Segal.

"The Segals' leadership for this initiative has already inspired a number of individuals to demonstrate their support. Now, with firm government commitment, I'm confident that even more members of our community will make private donations for the betterment of public health care," said VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation president & CEO Ron Dumouchelle.

The facility will improve health outcomes for British Columbians and help reduce indirect costs of mental illness in Vancouver.

Since 2001, more than $7 billion has been invested in health capital projects in British Columbia. Over the next three years, British Columbia's health care system will benefit from investments, such as new mental health centre at Vancouver General Hospital, as part of a $2.3-billion health sector capital plan.


Sara MacIntyre
Communications Director
Office of the Premier
250 580-7701

Ryan Jabs
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)

Trudi Beutel
Public Affairs Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health
604 708-5282 (office)
604 812-1847 (cell)

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