Coast Mental Health provides numerous services for residents at its supportive housing sites and staff also refer clients to other vital resources available in the community. However, experience has taught us that clinical supports work best when they are readily available to clients. There is a great need for in-house supports such as physicians and nurses as well as onsite programming (e.g., psychosocial rehabilitation services, training, and employment) to assist people in drug recovery to prevent relapses and overdoses. Affordable housing combined with these intensive coordinated services can provide the assistance needed for people to maintain a stable home.
Onsite Clinical Support
Coast Mental Health recently joined forces with Dr. Bill MacEwan, the former head of psychiatry at St. Paul’s Hospital and a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UBC, to open a one-day-a-week psychiatric clinic for residents living in our Maple Ridge sites. The results are remarkable with the number of residents accessing mental health supports doubling since January 2021. Not only do clients receive an immediate connection to the supports they desperately need, Dr. MacEwan has knowledge of the needs and processes to help them manage their mental health. This is shared with our staff so they can better assist clients. The result? Better treatment outcomes.
This clinic demonstrates the difference greater government investment in in-house clinical supports could make. Non-profit housing providers urgently need access to more professional healthcare practitioners (doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, and counsellors) to provide in-house clinical supports to assist vulnerable populations living in our communities.