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People struggling with complex and severe mental illness and addiction will receive the care they need in a state-of-the-art mental health and addictions centre on the Riverview lands, Premier John Horgan announced today.

“People afflicted by mental illness and addiction need better support and care. We’re getting to work to fix the problems and give people the help they need,” Premier Horgan said. “Today’s ground breaking is an important step toward improving mental health and addictions treatment services in British Columbia.”

The new 105-bed centre will offer specialized residential treatment to adults with severe mental health and addictions challenges, with the goal of helping to stabilize their illness and move forward with rehabilitation and recovery.

“I have talked to families from all around the province and heard countless heart-breaking stories about their struggles finding adequate care for a loved one coping with mental illness and addiction,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This state-of-the-art centre will be central to the creation of a community of care at Riverview that gives families the services and support they desperately need.”

The $101-million facility is slated to open in late 2019, replacing the current Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.

“Our government has made it a priority to ensure that the Riverview lands continue to be a place of healing,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville. “There is an opportunity for the Riverview site to become a hub for patients, families, health-care workers, researchers and the local community to come together to address mental-health and substance-use challenges.”

The new centre and the development of the Riverview lands support government’s commitment to create a seamless system of mental health and addiction services throughout the province.

“Client and family-centred care has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds in the design of this facility, and will continue to be as we build it,” said Lynn Pelletier, vice-president of Mental Health & Substance Use Services for the Provincial Health Services Authority. “We are proud to be one step closer to opening a facility that will support people on their journey to recovery, and help them return to healthy living in their communities.”

Extensive public and stakeholder consultation played a key role in the development and design of the project. This includes people with lived experiences who use the services at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction and their families, as well as the Kwikwetlem First Nation and the First Nations Health Authority.

“I have had the opportunity to participate in some of the planning meetings associated with this new facility. I’ve seen first-hand how much effort, experience and compassion is going into each stage of its development,” said Lisa Kofod, Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction family representative. “This new centre is symbolic of the will to shatter stigma and it brings new hope that we can do a lot to improve places and programs that help house and heal those we love.”