$259-million mental health, drug abuse treatment centre opens in New Westminster

Jul 29 2020, 11:13 am

Metro Vancouver has a new major facility to help treat individuals with mental health and drug addiction challenges.

The provincial government has opened the Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, which provides 75 inpatient psychiatric beds — a net gain of 45 beds from the hospital campus’ previous Sherbrooke building.

According to a release, the 393,000-sq-ft treatment centre has been designed as an “inviting, spacious, and therapeutic sanctuary,” complete with ample secure windows, natural light, and First Nations artwork. The inpatient units include spaces for patients to socialize and spend time alone, a secure outdoor patio and exercise room, and a lounge for visiting family and friends. All patient rooms are private spaces with ensuite bathrooms.

Royal Columbian Hospital Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre

Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. (Fraser Health Authority)

Royal Columbian Hospital Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre

Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. (Fraser Health Authority)

It offers a specialized unit for seniors dealing with acute depression, anxiety, or psychosis, as well as a new electroconvulsive therapy clinic to provide people with access to neurostimulation, which uses electrical signals to provide relief to patients with neurologic and psychiatric disorders.

The facility also offers outpatient services including mood disorder clinic, expanded clinics for adolescent psychiatry, reproductive psychiatry and psychiatric urgent referral, as well as group therapy and neuropsychology clinics, and an addictions medicine and substance-use clinic.

Royal Columbian Hospital Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre

Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. (Fraser Health Authority)

Royal Columbian Hospital Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre

Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. (Fraser Health Authority)

Fraser Health Authority (FHA) is operating the facility, and has taken a phased approach to open the new centre. It first began accepting outpatients on July 13.

“Today marks a very important step in and an equally important milestone in bolstering services for people across our region who are living with mental health and substance-use concerns,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of FHA, in a statement.

“Our Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre will expand our capacity in-hospital, but will also ensure much-needed outpatient services are available to people who need them now and in the years to come.”

Royal Columbian Hospital Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre

Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. (Fraser Health Authority)

Royal Columbian Hospital Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre

Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. (Fraser Health Authority)

The facility also consists of a hospital campus energy centre and 456 underground vehicle parking stalls. A two-storey indoor pedestrian bridge provides a direct connection to the rest of the hospital campus.

This $259-million centre is the first phase of Royal Columbian Hospital’s multi-phase expansion and renovation.

Phased expansion and renewal of Royal Columbian Hospital. (Fraser Health Authority)

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