Northern Health adding psychiatric services across the north

Arguing that “Mental health and substance use challenges are not only an urban issue, but also seen in rural and remote parts of the province,” Northern Health’s President and CEO has welcomed new support programs for northern BC residents.

Cathy Ulrich was commenting on the introduction of new programs to support people with severe mental illness or substance use challenges, involving recently announced funding to try and help improve the way services are delivered to those in need—both in emergency rooms and on community streets.

To reduce the amount of time police spend with emergency department patients, a new psychiatric liaison support nurse position is being added to hospital emergency rooms in Fort St. John, Prince George and Prince Rupert.

In addition, new intensive case management teams providing street and community outreach services will be expanding from Prince George, to Fort St. John, to Terrace.

These are community-based, out-patient support teams, and among other things connect those in need to services and care available outside of hospitals.

The online facts and figures are alarming and mental health problems are reportedly found in people of all ages, regions, countries and societies.

The United Kingdom apparently has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe, and we found British statistics showing about one quarter of the population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.

There also appears to be no secure age group with 20 per cent of children developing mental health problems in any given year, depression affecting one in five older people, and two in five if they’re living in care homes. The most common cause of death among men under 35 listed as suicide.

The substance use alarm bells are also all over the internet, and we found one ringing in the United States, the often self-proclaimed best country in world, with an estimate of nearly 20 million illicit drug users, and that doesn’t include those who abuse prescription drugs.

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