Colwood – People in the Westshore who need mental health and substance use services can now get the help they need closer to home at the new Central Access and Rapid Engagement Services (CARES) Clinic. The referral-only CARES Clinic will help people with mental health or substance use challenges while working closely with primary care providers, such as family physicians or nurse practitioners. Previously people in the Westshore in need of these services were referred to clinics located in Victoria.
“Faster and easier access to team-based health-care supports can make all the difference to people facing mental health and substance use challenges and this is a great example of the work we are doing throughout B.C. to improve access to care,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The CARES clinic will work in partnership family physicians and nurse practitioners to strengthen mental health supports in the region and provide the team-based care that will help people in the Westshore get the help and compassionate care they need.”
Patients are referred to the CARES Clinic by a primary care provider. 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.
Since opening in mid-February the clinic has had 265 patient visits. The clinic also provides individual and group counselling sessions for people struggling with depression, substance use and/or anxiety – to date there have been 150 patient visits for group counselling and 20 patient visits for individual counselling.
Appointments for patients referred to the clinic by a primary care provider are booked based on urgency - some patients will receive same day access to the clinic, while others will have appointments scheduled within one to two business days.
“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 is helping to 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.”
The team at the CARES Clinic includes social workers, mental health and substance use clinicians and health consultants. They will help people by providing practical supports, team-based care plans and navigation advice.
“Island Health is dedicated to offering treatment and support for those impacted by mental health and substance use issues,” said Kelly Reid, Director of Mental Health and Substance Use. “The CARES Clinic will help the Westshore greatly by ensuring that people who do not pose a danger to themselves or others will receive quick access to supports. As well, patients interested in reducing or eliminating substance use, or family members concerned about loved ones, can quickly receive the assistance they need.”
“Family doctors and primary care providers in the Westshore can now link their patients directly to a range of mental health and substance use services, closer to home” said Dr. Vanessa Young, Chair of the South Island Division of Family Practice. “The CARES Clinic is a valuable addition to services available to people in this area.” (DRAFT)
The CARES Clinic is located at 582 Goldstream Avenue, above the Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre. It is open 10:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Wednesday and Saturday, until 8:00pm Thursday and Friday and closed Sunday.
The new CARES Clinic is part of the Province’s work to strengthen health care in the region and throughout the province. As part of this work, the Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre opened Nov. 5, 2018, and has served more than 7,600 patient visits in that time. As well, the Province is providing funding to expand the West Coast Medical Clinic in Sooke.