‘First of its kind’ study found almost a quarter of all identified organizations called could not be reached (FILE PHOTO)

New West Shore mental health and substance abuse clinic is first-of-its-kind

Residents will no longer have to make the trip down to Victoria

West Shore residents can now be referred to a service within the community if they’re battling mental health and substance abuse issues.

The clinic will operate out of the floor above the Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre. Before the service was introduced, doctors and care providers would refer people from the West Shore to travel to Victoria for support.

ALSO READ: Province announces new urgent care centre in Langford

“The clinic’s dedicated team of mental health and substance use professionals provide assessments and short-term counselling, as well as linking patients with Island Health or other community supports when needed,” Island Health said in a recent statement.

The clinic also offers one-on-one and group counselling sessions for people “struggling with depression, substance use or anxiety,” it said. The clinic has had 265 patient visits since opening in mid-February, it notes.

“To date there have been 150 patient visits for group counselling and 20 patient visits for individual counselling,” it adds.

ALSO READ: New urgent primary care centre opens on the West Shore

“People with mental health and addiction challenges can face an invisible barrier of stigma that prevents them from reaching out for help,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

The CARES clinic helps “reduce this barrier by making it easier for people in the Westshore to work with their primary care providers to get the supports they need when and where they need them,” she said.

The CARES Clinic is located at 582 Goldstream Avenue, above the Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre. It is open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, until 8:00 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and closed Sunday.

ALSO READ: Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre celebrates its 5000th patient

“The new CARES Clinic is part of the Province’s work to strengthen health care in the region and throughout the province,” according to Island Health. The Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre opened Nov. 5, 2018, as part of the initiative and has received over 7,000 patient visits in that time, they add.

The province is also funding an expansion to the West Coast Medical Clinic in Sooke.



swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com

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