Grand opening of the Granville Youth Health Centre
Youth who are vulnerable and homeless or at risk of homelessness are being provided with a stepping stone to help them back on the right path with today’s grand opening of the Granville Youth Health Centre.
“When you’re young, on the streets and facing challenges associated with mental health or substance use, it can be extremely difficult to find and get the help you need,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “With the innovative, integrated and personal help provided by the Inner City Youth team at St. Paul’s, we’re helping youth address these life roadblocks and get back on track to a healthy, promising future.”
St. Paul’s Hospital’s Inner City Youth team opened the Granville Youth Health Centre to provide one-stop, integrated primary care, as well as mental health and substance use services in a welcoming space designed for youth under 24 years of age. The centre was developed in consultation with youth to create an open and accessible space designed to attract young people on the move who seek short-term care or might avoid care altogether. The team receives, on average, one new referral per day and acts as a primary access point to housing subsidies and approximately 80 housing units.
By offering primary care, mental health care, counselling, therapy, psychiatric assessment, group recreational activities, independent living skills, meal planning and food preparation, in addition to income assistance and housing support provided by an interdisciplinary team, the Granville Youth Health Centre aims to improve outcomes for youth. By providing youth with continuity of care and the ability to address multiple health issues, the care team prevents these issues from deteriorating into more serious health concerns.
The centre is expected to serve up to 1,200 youth by 2016, handling a total of 6,000 to 8,000 visits annually.
“Inner City Youth helped me get out of the Downtown Eastside and recover from psychosis,” said Alex Mann-Kuefler, a client of the program. “They assisted me in finding work, volunteering and going back to college. Now I can pursue my dream of working in international development.”
The Inner City Youth program is supported by lead donor Silver Wheaton and a variety of businesses, organizations and private donors, including St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, and Variety, the Children’s Charity. The program began as a St. Paul’s outreach strategy that provides comprehensive mental health and addictions services to youth who are homeless or precariously housed.
The centre was made possible by the Ministry of Health’s 2014-15 investment of $20.25 million to health authorities to support programs and services for those with severe mental illness or substance use issues. This follows the $750,000 in funding for doubling the size of the Inner City Youth team in April 2014 and expansion of its services at the Renfrew House youth group home facility in East Vancouver in October 2014.
“St. Paul’s Inner City Youth team is dedicated to finding ways to enable youth to take control of their health and wellness needs,” said Dr. Steve Mathias, medical director, Inner City Youth team. “The Granville Youth Health Centre is inspired by the needs of youth to be able to get services in one location – when they need them. By applying St. Paul’s unique integration of care, research, teaching and outreach towards that model, we hope to create a prototype for a new way to care for youth in British Columbia while providing them with the social support and life skills they need to transition back to the community.”
Opening the Granville Youth Health Centre to support the Inner City Youth team is one of the strategies outlined by the Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health/Providence Health Care to address the complex needs of people living with severe addictions and/or mental illness.
In addition to the Granville Youth Health Centre, the Inner City Youth team operates in eight locations across the Lower Mainland, including St. Paul’s Hospital and a variety of group homes, transitional shelters and low-barrier supportive housing.
To learn more about the Inner City Youth team, visit their website: www.innercityyouth.ca