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105 new spaces coming to innovative B.C. addictions and mental health treatment centre

Red Fish Healing Centre is being heralded as a “first of its kind” facility in North America
Minister Sheila Malcomson speaks at an Oct. 29 announcement of new treatment spaces at Red Fish Healing Centre on Kwikwetlem territory. (Goverment of BC/YouTube)

The province has announced 105 new treatment spaces for people living with complex mental health and addictions at Red Fish Healing Centre in Coquitlam.

Described as the “first of its kind in North America”, the centre provides several levels of care to meet people where they’re at in their healing journey. It includes an advanced care unit for people who have challenges with aggressive behaviour, something that would have disqualified them from accessing other treatment spaces.

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Shelia Malcomson is B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions. Malcolmson said the centre will also act as a research and education hub for experts to delve deeper into best practices and share their findings with the world.

“I’m grateful that this first-of-its-kind healing centre in North America will offer trauma-informed and culturally safe care to the people of Coquitlam and all of British Columbia. This is an important milestone in our goal to transform mental health and substance use care in B.C.”

The treatment centre is located on the territory of Kwikwetlem First Nation. Kwikwetlem was involved in the design of the facility and the programming to ensure that services can be delivered in a way that is culturally safe. Red Fish Healing Centre features a house beam, which is the first beam erected on Kwikwetlem territory in 120 years.

“This day is also a powerful symbol of our people reconnecting with these lands, which have been a source of great healing, safety, sustenance and spirituality since time immemorial,” Chief Ed Hall said.

“We are proud to have our language, culture and healing practices incorporated throughout the centre, from the addition of our name in han̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm) to the use of traditional healing practices such as smudging and the powerful display of the House Post at the entrance to the centre. Carved from a 600-year-old tree, it reminds visitors that they are on our sacred lands and stands tall, representing a warrior who protects the people who come here in search of healing.”

Malcolmson noted that the province has already opened 101 new adult treatment spaces and 30 youth treatment spaces since dedicating half a billion dollars to focus on mental health and addictions treatment in their 2021 budget.

RELATED: B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health


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