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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Council mulls drive-in events following new provincial restrictions

A new order from the province’s top doctor banning gatherings of 50… Continue reading

Farm life: lessons learned while working from home

It’s important to slow down, be kind to one another, and enjoy the little moments in life

Cranbrook 2020 property tax notices in the mail

Taxes are due on Thursday, July 2, 2020

Angel Flight takes to the skies once more

Angel Flight East Kootenay is once again offering free flights to Kelowna for medical appointments

Hometown heroes: Ktunaxa Nurse Manager Heather Fenner

With various sectors of the economy continuing to open their doors to… Continue reading

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read