Judy Darcy, provincial minister of mental health and addictions. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

New mental health and addiction centre in Surrey a first for B.C.

Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions, opened the urgent care centre Wednesday at SMH

There’s more help in Surrey for people who are wrestling with mental illness and addiction.

Judy Darcy, provincial minister of mental health and addictions, opened the new Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre on Wednesday morning at the Charles Barham Pavilion at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

It’s the first of its kind in B.C. and will have a staff of 84 including physicians, clinical counsellors, social workers, psychiatrists, mental health care workers, homelessness outreach workers and a pharmacist.

Its first patients will be received in two weeks, she said, for “integrated, seamless and compassionate care, all under one roof.”

“They will find a place that welcomes them,” Darcy said. “This centre truly will change how we deliver mental health and substance use services in this community, but also right across British Columbia.”

“There will be highly trained staff,” she said. “It does take a brave person to say ‘I need help,’ and to walk through the doors.

“What we’re saying loud and clear is that mental health is not a sign of weakness, addiction is not a sign of moral failure, they are health issues period and we are going to treat them that way and that means integrating them fully into everyday health care.”

READ ALSO: B.C. centre at forefront of treating mental health and addiction together

READ ALSO: Roughly one person died every two days from drug overdoses in Surrey

Darcy said the overdose crisis has “shone a very, very bright light on the gaps in our system – gaps that are really more like enormous chasms in our mental health and addiction system.

“We’ve taken urgent action on many different fronts but now is the time for deeper long-term change to save even more lives and to ensure that everyone can find their own pathway to healing, their own pathway to hope.”

Garry Begg, NDP MLA for Surrey-Guildford, noted that “each person needs to find their own pathway to healing, when they are ready.”

Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO for Fraser Health, said more than 20 groups were consulted – “including people with lived experience, to ensure the centre meets their unique needs” – and their recommendations are “woven throughout the centre.”

The centre, which is near the emergency department, will be open for business starting July 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 7, when it will become fully operational 16 hours a day, seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

The $5 million facility – with $38,000 donated by the Surrey Hospital Foundations for renovations and technology features – is expected to cost $8.9 million annually to run.

It has laundry and shower services, and a big group room for healing circles, smudging ceremonies and drumming.

Darcy said the provincial government’s “road map,” dubbed Pathway to Hope, stresses that access to mental and substance use care “should not depend on the size of your bank account, and it does now, and that’s wrong, and that’s going to begin to change.

“That will be a game-changer for a lot of people in this community and a lot of people across B.C.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Career fair a success for many

700 job hunters visited the Black Press Extreme Education and career fair in Prince George Oct. 11

Cariboo-Prince George candidates address the housing crisis at forum

Questions from the public covered housing, forestry, healthcare, climate change, gender equality and more

Elementary school students compete in a cross country race

The event held at the Nechako Valley Sporting Association grounds saw students from across SD91 participate

Hockey breakast club a success, says organizer

Club aims to expose kids to hockey and help them develop their game

Activities undertaken by the 899 Squadron

Vanderhoof air cadet’s held their first monthly commanding officer parade of the new training year on Sept. 24

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Most Read