Williams Lake will receive a new crisis response team intended to provide targeted support for individuals living with mental health and substance use disorders.
Health Minister Terry Lake made the announcement earlier this week, which included Assertive Community Treatment teams for Kamloops and Kelowna, as well as the crisis team for the Interior to serve the Cariboo-Chilcotin and 100 Mile House.
“While we have a strong base of services for people with mental health and substance use issues, there are some clients who require more intensive intervention and support to live a healthier life,” said Lake.
“This will be possible with these new ACT and crisis response teams, and is just one example of work going on throughout the province to support those in need of additional support.”
Funding for the ACT teams and the crisis response team is provided jointly, with Interior Health contributing $2 million and the Ministry of Health providing $2 million for a total of $4 million.
The crisis response team will consist of two nurses alternating to provide seven-day-a-week coverage and service and will also work closely with mental health and substance use and emergency department staff to support clients requiring intensive treatment and follow-up.
“We know that many individuals with serious and complex mental health and substance use illnesses use our emergency departments,” said Dave Harrhy, Mental Health and Substance Use Network Director. “One of the goals of these teams is to support clients to the point that they are better managing their symptoms and health in the community and are less likely to need to visit the emergency department.”
Interior Health is in the process of hiring staff for the ACT and crisis response teams, and hopes to see them in place by February with clinical programs starting in the late spring and early summer.
This week’s announcement is partially funded by the $20.25 million earmarked for health authorities to invest in more local programs and supports to improve care for the severely addicted and mentally ill population. This announcement builds on significant progress on the action items outlined in the Ministry of Health’s November 2013 report for individuals with severe addictions and mental illness, with even more programs to be announced in the upcoming year.