News Article Details

'State-of-the-art' children's mental health unit opening soon at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Surrey Now - 4/7/2017

WHALLEY - A 10-bed "state-of-the-art" unit for children and teens with urgent mental health issues is set to open at Surrey Memorial Hospital in late May.

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit (CAPSU) will be home to a Snoezelen™ Room, (pictured) a multi-sensory environment used to help reduce agitation and anxiety, the first of its kind for children and youth in a hospital psychiatric unit in Canada.

CAPSU will serve young people from across the Fraser Health region, aged six to 17, who need a five- to seven-day stay in hospital for stabilization.

Michael Marchbank, president and CEO of Fraser Health said the demand for acute child and youth mental health services is growing.

"CAPSU will provide a much needed service to children and youth in our region that need short-term support to stabilize their illness," he added.

The number of children between six and 17 years old appearing at Surrey Memorial Hospital's emergency room to be treated for mental illness jumped from 916 in 2007 to more than 2,400 in 2014.

In fact, Surrey sees the highest number of children and youth with mental health issues in the whole region, reports Fraser Health.

"These are almost epidemic proportions," said Jane Adams, CEO of Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Foundation. The rise comes alongside inadequate resources in B.C., which has just six youth mental health beds – all of them in Vancouver at B.C. Children's Hospital.

If beds are not available there, they either remain in the emergency department or are admitted to a pediatric ward or adult psychiatric unit in their local hospital.

There is not a single "stabilization" bed in all of the Fraser Health Authority dedicated to young people.

READ MORE: Facing an 'epidemic' level of mental illness and addiction among youth, experts are focused on finding better ways to help children like Adriana Falcon, who lost her life to drugs at 15

Cloverdale Paint, one of the city's oldest and most successful family-owned businesses, has contributed $1 million to the new unit through the Surrey Hospital&Outpatient Centre Foundation. The unit will be named in their honour – the Cloverdale Paint Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit.

Over the past 11 months, the space formerly occupied by the hospital's old emergency department has been transformed into a therapeutic environment for children and adolescents experiencing an acute mental health crisis.

The specialized care team on this unit will include psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and youth care counsellors.

The provincial government is providing $2.2 million to the unit and the community has donated more than $2 million towards it. Fraser Health is investing $820,000 in capital costs plus $4 million in annual operating costs.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

 
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