New pilot project for parents-to-be

In October 2023, the Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, announced a pilot project to better understand the needs of new parents and pregnant people with substance use concerns.

As part of the pilot, in partnership with BC Women’s Hospital, Coast Mental Health will be providing housing and supports for five pregnant people affected by substance use and who are transitioning from acute care back into the community.

Elizabeth Fry Society and the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness will also each also be operating five beds within this pilot. 

”With access to stable housing and appropriate supports, we know the outcomes for the whole family will improve.” – Keir Macdonald, CEO of Coast Mental Health

With a dedicated Outreach worker on site, the focus is on supporting them in finding long-term, or supported housing. In addition – if they need it – to taking them to medical appointments and teaching them life skills ahead of giving birth.  

“Existing systems of care haven’t been meeting the needs of women and people affected by substance use during their pregnancy, and after giving birth.” continued Keir.

“To ensure the best start in life for newborns and their families, pregnant people and new parents who use drugs need immediate access to high quality health care, mental health services and housing,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“These new community bed pilots will help bridge a gap for perinatal patients, and lead to a better understanding of the needs of pregnant people in our communities and their children.”

There is limited research in BC on the unique health and social services required by women and people with substance use concerns who are pregnant, have given birth and/or are parenting once they are discharged from the hospital.  

Some of the outcomes BCW will assess include: days spent in hospital, integration and connection to the community, and the physical and mental wellbeing of the patient and their family. Evidence from this pilot will inform future planning to better integrate perinatal care between the hospital and the communities where people live.

Coast is incredibly honoured to be able to contribute our expertise as part of this pilot project, and we look forward to sharing the outcomes. 




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