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$1bn commitment to expand mental health and substance use services across BC

The BC government unveiled the inaugural phase of its groundbreaking “Road To Recovery” program at a state-of-the-art care facility within St. Paul’s Hospital, located in Vancouver. The Road to Recovery initiative stands as a pioneering endeavor, dedicated to supporting individuals grappling with mental health and addiction challenges through a strategic partnership between Providence Health Care, the BC Provincial Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions (MMHA). Furthermore, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Regional Addiction Program, St. Paul’s Foundation, PHC’s Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation Team and the University of British Columbia are vital contributors to the Road to Recovery Initiative. Its overarching objective is to establish a comprehensive continuum of care for individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorders.

Since its inception in September 2023, the facility at St. Paul’s Hospital has impressively expanded to accommodate thirty-four beds, encompassing detox and transition treatment, and has admitted a total of ninety-four patients by December 2023. The Road to Recovery (R2R) program represents a groundbreaking, multi-phased approach aimed at transforming substance use care throughout BC. Plans are in place to augment the St. Paul’s facility with 25 detox beds, twenty transition beds and fifty treatment and recovery beds by the close of 2024, with intentions to replicate this model in other regions of the province.

Patients in need of assistance can promptly access support by dialing the “access central” phone line at 1 (866) 658-1221, operational seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Any voicemails left after operational hours will receive a swift response the following morning. Trained healthcare professionals responding to these calls diligently conduct screenings and gather crucial information concerning the patient’s goals, demographics, substance use history and other pertinent details. After the screening process, these healthcare experts guide patients toward the most appropriate programs and treatment options available.

Jennifer Whiteside C. Premier David Eby and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Jennifer Whiteside, made a significant announcement of $1 billion in new funding to enhance mental health and substance use services throughout British Columbia. The Budget for 2023 has allocated over $1 billion as fresh funding to be disbursed over the ensuing three years, ensuring that individuals grappling with mental health issues or addiction challenges can access the necessary care. As part of this financial commitment, the Province is allocating $586 million to fortify the healthcare system, further bolstering treatment and recovery services across B.C. Additionally, taking inspiration from the success of the Red Fish Healing Centre, the Province has ambitious plans to extend support to individuals contending with concurrent mental health and addiction challenges across various regional locations within the province.

The Road To Recovery initiative not only aims to augment treatment capacity but also to enhance access to existing treatment options within the province, including 3,277 publicly funded adult and substance treatment beds, supplemented by comprehensive aftercare plans. This initiative enjoys generous funding from the Diamond Foundation in partnership with The Province of British Columbia.

The R2R Study is led by the esteemed Dr. Seonaid Nolan, who serves as the Head of Providence Health Care’s Division of Addiction, holds the title of Clinician Scientist at the BC Centre on Substance Use, occupies the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at UBC, and carries the distinguished designation of UBC Steven Diamond Professor in Addiction Care Innovation.

Source: Government of British Columbia, Mental Health and Addictions