More support for substance recovery

North Island co-ordinator for child and youth services has also been hired

  • Dec. 22, 2014 4:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record Staff

The Comox Valley will receive six supportive recovery beds for women in the new year, along with support from a case management team to help clients dealing with substance use.

The support is part of $12.3 million in expanded Island Health services throughout Vancouver Island.

Island Health intends to issue a Request for Proposal for the new beds in a 24/7 staffed facility at a community location. The idea is to help women get back on their feet by withdrawing from substances and learning life skills.

“For the women in the Valley it’s going to be a really good resource to have,” said John Fitzgerald, area manager of mental health and substance use for the Valley and Campbell River.

A new Intensive Case Management Team (ICMT) will consist of several professionals working seven days a week. The team will include a full-time nurse and nurse practitioner, a social program officer, peer support worker and an addictions recovery worker, along with a half-time occupational therapist and administrative assistant. A psychiatrist will also be recruited.

“It’s another outreach-based team that looks at improving people’s quality of life and functioning, and their relationships with the community and their families, which is very important,” Fitzgerald said.

“Rarely do you have severe substance use by itself. This is a great team that can partner with a bunch of other health professionals, as well as community non-profits.”

The team will initially look at adults, but Fitzgerald notes a North Island co-ordinator for child and youth services has been hired.

“Over the past several years, Island Health has been expanding its mental health and substance use services across the North Island,” he said. “By mid-2015 we’ll have new teams right from Comox all the way through to Mt. Waddington. Those teams target the populations that don’t come to office-based services. This service is significant in the fact that it’s mostly outreach.”

Services introduced since 2012 include three detox beds for women in the Valley.

Telehealth services were introduced to support people with anxiety and depression, as was education for rural health-care providers on suicide prevention and eating disorders.


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