Service providers warn despite provincial efforts, mental health care stuck in crisis mode (St. Paul's Hospital)

At the end of an eventful year for mental health care in Vancouver, stakeholders say more should be done to address problems before they reach a crisis point.

“There has been an expansion of things like housing and assertive outreach,” said Darrell Burnham, CEO of Coast Mental Health. “The question is whether that is enough. I’m not sure if it’s enough, but it’s not bad.”

Partly in response, in March the province unveiled a nine-bed emergency psychiatric unit at St. Paul’s Hospital. It also increased the number of “assertive community treatment” (ACT) teamsdeployed to provide care where people live. More recently, on December 17, Health Minister Terry Lake announced 14 new long-term beds at the Riverview grounds in Coquitlam. The latter became available in addition to a relocation of 26 beds from the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.

Travis Lupick reports

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