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New funding on the way for mental health and substance use services

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November 21, 2014 - 11:35 AM

KELOWNA - Interior Health is putting together new crisis response teams to support and strengthen mental health and substance use services.

Funding for the Assertive Community Treatment's targeted approach is on the way for Kamloops, Kelowna and the Cariboo-Chilcotin areas. It will be a joint venture with IH, with each contributing $2 million toward the total $4 million price tag. IH will establish treatment teams in Kamloops and Kelowna and a crisis response team in Williams Lake to serve 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,” Health Minister Terry Lake said in a media release. “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.”

The team will be made up of mental health and substance abuse professionals from a variety of professional backgrounds. Their goal will be to provide treatment, rehabilitation and support for those suffering from severe mental health challenges and substance abuse. Client outreach will happen according to individual needs anytime during each 24 hour day, seven-days-a-week, as often as two to three times per day.

For the Cariboo-Chilcotin area, two nurses on alternating schedules will provide seven-days-per-week coverage and service and will work closely with mental health and substance use and emergency department staff supporting clients needing intensive treatment and follow-up.

The idea behind the project is to provide comprehensive care and keep those coping with substance use and mental health issues out of emergency departments.

The hiring process is active for the program and IH is aiming to have professionals in place by February, 2015, with clinical programs starting in late spring and early summer.

Today’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.

Interior Health is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and providing a wide range of quality health-care services to more than 742,000 people living across B.C.’s vast interior. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @Interior_Health, or like us on Facebook at

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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