The provincial government and Interior Health have announced a significant expansion of mental health and addictions resources in Vernon.
As part of an expansion of four existing services and the addition of four others, 19 full-time equivalent workers will be hired in the community.
“People throughout the North Okanagan will benefit from this major expansion of mental health and substance-use services in Vernon,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“Building mental health and substance-use care in every B.C. community is our government’s commitment, because this system of care did not exist five years ago.”
Recruitment for these new and expanded programs is underway, with some services expected to be available as early as April 2022.
“Within our region it is estimated that more than 20% of people will meet the criteria for substance-use disorder at some point in their lifetime,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO, Interior Health.
“The services announced today will help build a well-connected, safe, and person-centred network of treatment and support for people with problematic substance use.”
Young people aged 12 to 24 with significant substance-use concerns and concurrent disorders who face challenges accessing health or social services will have the support of a new interdisciplinary intensive case management team.
Additionally, substance-use counselling services will be available for young people aged 12 to 24 along with their families, and young adults aged 18 to 24 who have complex substance-use needs will have access to individual, group and family substance use day treatment programs.
Another newly introduced service in Vernon provides a priority response to young people aged 12 to 24 who have recently had an opioid overdose or are at high risk for drug poisoning. Youth Substance Use Connections connects them to available community services, such as medication-assisted treatment.
Existing programs, such as early substance-use intervention, early psychosis intervention and eating disorders treatment services are expanding to reach more people with mental health and substance-use challenges.
In addition, the nurse prescriber working at the downtown mental health and substance use centre can now prescribe more options for medication assisted treatment of opioid-use disorder.