Crisis response team and community café win 2024 mental health and substance use awards

In conjunction with Mental Health Week (May 6-12), Island Health is recognizing two groups for their efforts to help people experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. The Community-Led Crisis Response Team, part of the provincial Peer Assisted Care Team (PACT) program, and the Imagine Studio Café are the winners of the 2024 Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) Community Service Awards.

Representatives from the Community-Led Crisis Response Team and the Imagine Studio Cafe were presented their awards today by the MHSU South Island Advisory Committee at the Umbrella Society offices.

“Every day in every community in B.C., we rely on front-line organizations – especially their staff and volunteers – to provide vital, lifesaving outreach and services to people who are struggling with mental health and addiction challenges,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “The AVI-led Peer Assisted Care Team (PACT), and the Imagine Studio Café exemplify innovative community-based approaches that are making a significant difference in the lives of those who need it most.”


Community-Led Crisis Response Team

The (CLCR), a program of AVI Health and Community Services, is a Peer Assisted Care Team (PACT) funded by the Province of British Columbia through the Canadian Mental Health Association. CLCR provides mobile crisis response, led by peers with lived experience and mental health professionals, who are able to de-escalate crises and develop community care plans to help people 13+ experiencing crisis.

The CLCR Team’s alternate approach focuses on health, well-being and community support, based on consent. Utilizing a community-based, client-centered, trauma-informed response, a peer-assisted model of care has been proven to help people navigate mental and social care services and reduce engagement with the justice system and emergency services.


Imagine Studio Café

Imagine Studio Café is an independent business that provides an experiential and transformative learning space for those that need a little help. Their support services are designed to uplift and provide equitable support for some of the most vulnerable members of our community including those experiencing poverty and homelessness, and experiencing trauma, mental health issues, substance use, or violence. Imagine’s intercultural team rotates through all aspects of the cafe, focusing on life and social skills, coaching and development. Their case management team provides internal and external support for those most at risk.

“The Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use Community Service Awards are a great way to recognize and thank the people and organizations dedicated to supporting people with mental health and substance use challenges.” said Leah Hollins, Island Health board chair. “The CLCR Team and Imagine Café are instrumental in supporting people.”

The Island Health MHSU South Island Advisory Committee identifies community members who make a difference in the lives of people with mental health and substance use challenges. The Committee also purchases artwork from artists with MHSU experience to present to the award recipients.