The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy was in Terrace on March 21 to make the announcement of the new Northwest mobile service with Northern Health’s Intensive Case Management team. The unit is set to hit the road next month. (Brittany Gervais photo)

The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy was in Terrace on March 21 to make the announcement of the new Northwest mobile service with Northern Health’s Intensive Case Management team. The unit is set to hit the road next month. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

People in the Northwest will soon have access to mental health and addiction support with the help of a new mobile service unit.

Terrace’s Intensive Case Management team is hitting the road this April in a retrofitted ambulance to offer mental health and substance use services. The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy was in Terrace with Northern Health staff and leaders to make the announcement on March 21.

This unit includes referrals, take-home naloxone kits and training, basic wound care and assistance navigating resources for housing, finances, employment, health cards, dental and eye care. The service is being funded through Northern Health and through resources from the province.

Outside the Terrace Health Unit, two people walked up to the podium to share their own experiences with addiction, mental health, and homelessness.

READ MORE: B.C. opiod crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

“I didn’t think I’d be able to come here and say anything, but listening to these folks… I really hope they can help, because we’re losing too many of our friends. And we’re losing a lot of respect,” says John Dignard with emotion in his voice. “We don’t have much, but we have each other.”

Dignard first met Misty Louie in Terrace when they were both homeless and living in a tent. He says those facing homelessness experience the brunt of the impact of mental health and addiction issues, but must also overcome stigmas and barriers to services when they need help.

“We’ve seen a lot of things on the street because we used to live in a tent when we first met and it was hard, but we had each other and we had the street people,” says John Dignard. “A lot of people look at them as disgusting, as addicts, as bums… but if you needed the coat off of their back, they would give it to you.”

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy was in Terrace to make the announcement and says meeting people where they’re at, with the services they need, can be a lifeline for people in the Northwest. The last thing people seeking help want to hear is that they have to wait in line, she says.

“We need to extend the reach of our services. Terrace is really underserved but the more remote communities are also underserved. That’s why this is such a brilliant idea,” says Darcy, adding this was an initiative led by Northern Health staff working on the ground within these communities.

The unit is also aimed at helping build the capacity of local primary and community care services to reduce pressure on local emergency departments and emergency services, while providing coordinated care, according to the press release.

Dignard says the respect shown by the Intensive Case Management Team in Terrace is extremely important when trying to reach marginalized populations.

“Everybody deserves a chance. And that’s all they want, is a chance to have someone listen to them and not sit there and give them a disgusted look and walk by them. They have a heart, they have a soul, and they are our friends.”

READ MORE: Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

A staggering 1,489 British Columbians died from a drug overdose last year — that’s roughly four people dying per day, according to the B.C. Coroner Service. Darcy says in January, six more people died within the Northern Health’s service area.

And she says thousands more may have died over the last couple years without the increased distribution of naloxone kits, overdose prevention and safe consumption services, and more access to assisted treatment and recovery programs in B.C.

“The numbers are horrifyingly high.”

READ MORE: B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

Over the next two to three weeks, ICMT will meet and decide which communities they will be travelling to. Supports offered through the unit will be assessed over time and may change to reflect the needs of Northwest residents. Darcy says the province will be reaching out to other communities as the mobile unit hits the road to see if a similar model will work elsewhere.

Derek Flynn, a registered nurse who will be travelling in the unit, says he’s happy to see the mobile service team realized.

“It’s super important, I was born and raised here and it’s a gap that’s been here for many years. Our clients tend to fall through the gaps and aren’t getting the healthcare they not only need, but that they deserve. This is bringing those services to them.”

This unit is part of the Specialized Community Service Program for Mental Health and Addictions in the Northwest Health Service Delivery Area.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

mental healthMental Health and Addictions Minister Judy DarcyNorthern Healthopioid crisisterrace

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Northern Health leaders and staff, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy and Kitsumkalum matriarch Sharon Bryant pose in front of the new Terrace-based mobile service unit on March 21. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Northern Health leaders and staff, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy and Kitsumkalum matriarch Sharon Bryant pose in front of the new Terrace-based mobile service unit on March 21. (Brittany Gervais photo)

John Dignard and Misty Louie spoke about their own experiences dealing with homelessness and addictions in Terrace during the mobile unit announcement on March 21. (Brittany Gervais photo)

John Dignard and Misty Louie spoke about their own experiences dealing with homelessness and addictions in Terrace during the mobile unit announcement on March 21. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Comprised of a retrofitted ambulance, the mobile unit will travel to Northwest communities next month after Northern Health Intensive Case Management staff decide on where they will go. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Comprised of a retrofitted ambulance, the mobile unit will travel to Northwest communities next month after Northern Health Intensive Case Management staff decide on where they will go. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Just Posted

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

Kieran Christison, manager of Daybreak Farms in Terrace inspects eggs on Oct. 30, 2020. Christison wants to transition to a zero waste, cage-free facility. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Daybreak Farms aiming to achieve zero-waste, cage-free facility

Kieran Christison, manager, presented the farm’s future plans to Terrace city council

Mercedes Trigo, assistant manager, said that Trigo’s Lifestyle Store in Terrace has experienced four broken windows and an attempted break-in recently, leaving her feeling unsupported by bystanders and the police. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
Trigo’s management frustrated by property damage, theft

In a little over a month there have been four broken windows and an attempted break-in at the store

Two RCMP officers have been recognized for their actions in responding to an incident involving a man with a weapon at 4501 Park Ave. on the afternoon of April 27, 2020. RCMP say it was an isolated incident and there is no danger to the general public. (Jake Wray photo)
Terrace RCMP officers recognized for acts of bravery

Two involved in arrest of armed suspect

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read