B.C. to send 3 new mental health teams to Vancouver Island
The mental health teams are mobile and can meet their clients in their homes, at supportive housing facility or in encampments: (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Vancouver Island residents who struggle with severe mental health challenges or who may be particularly vulnerable will soon be able to contact three new mental health teams, according to the B.C. government.
The health workers are part of B.C.’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program, which provide 24/7 mobile support for people living with serious mental health concerns.
According to the province, ACT teams can go into personal homes, supportive housing facilities and parks where homeless camps have been established to meet with their clients.
The B.C. government adds that ACT teams focus on supporting people who “not responded well to traditional outpatient mental health services.”
The three new ACT teams coming to Vancouver Island will be located in Victoria, Nanaimo, and the Cowichan Valley, including Duncan.
Three other ACT teams will be added to communities on the mainland, including Vancouver, Maple Ridge and Kelowna.
In total, the six teams will be comprised of up to 60 staff members, which include nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, substance-use specialists, peer support workers or vocational specialists.
“For many people, COVID-19 has made existing mental health struggles even worse,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions in a release Sunday.
“We’ve heard from vulnerable people and from communities that they need more specialized care for those living with really severe mental health challenges,” she said. “These six new ACT teams will deliver the care people need to get better and rebuild their lives as well as help stabilize and resolve the challenging situations that some communities have seen in the past few months.”
While the exact scope of services that each ACT team offers will vary by community, the province says that services can include crisis assessment and intervention, housing supports, psychiatric/psychological treatment, medication management and other work or family-related support services.