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New Centre for Mental Health and Addiction

Architect's impression of the new Centre for Mental Health and Addiction

We are building a new provincial mental health and substance use treatment centre on the Riverview lands in Coquitlam for adults with the most severe, complex substance use and mental health issues in the province. The new centre, which will replace the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, will be a key part of the continuum of mental health and substance use care in B.C.

Learn more about the new facility


Virtual capabilities

The 105-bed facility will have a number of other state-of-the-art features that will greatly increase our ability to provide specialized, safe care for some of B.C.'s most ill patients.

The building will feature technology and dedicated space to accommodate research, education and knowledge exchange throughout the province. There will be rooms equipped with video recording and broadcast capabilities, full wifi connectivity throughout the facility, telemedicine to enable consults, and virtual care tools, including evidence-based e-mental health programs such as Breaking Free Online.

All client medical records at the new Centre for Mental Health and Addiction will be fully electronic on a new system, allowing care providers to spend more time caring for clients and less time waiting for information. This will also allow vulnerable clients to spend less time repeating their stories. Medication records will also be electronic, leading to better safety and fewer errors. The will follow the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction's move to this new system, called CST Cerner, in December 2019.

Trauma-informed facility features

The vast majority of our clients have experienced past trauma, including childhood abuse or neglect. This trauma plays a role in both client illnesses and in their experiences with the mental health care system. To better facilitate client comfort, safety and healing, the likelihood of past trauma is informing every aspect of the building design. All 105 client rooms will be single with ensuite bathrooms to ensure clients' privacy. Each room will be equipped with a window the client can open as well as temperature control.

Exam rooms, counselling rooms, admission areas and other spaces will have two ways of entering and leaving so that clients feel safer.

Additionally, the new centre will be the first building of its kind in the Lower Mainland with lighting that adjusts throughout the day. Due to past trauma and addictions, our clients often don't have normal sleep cycles. Furthermore, anti-psychotic medication has a tendency to affect sleep patterns. In response to these patient needs and the latest research, lighting in public areas will adjust as natural sun patterns do during the day. This dosage of light early in the morning activates the brain's circadian rhythm to help clients find a natural sleep pattern, and reduces need for medical intervention such as sleeping medications.

Facilitating healing through interior design

The location and design of the building will align with BC Housing's vision and master plan for the redevelopment of the Riverview site, which prioritizes open, green spaces and therapeutic landscapes to promote space for healing. 

Décor will incorporate natural light, wood, stone and warm colours that align with the facility's unique environment and site history. Furniture and fixtures, including materials, textures, colour, lighting and acoustic treatments, will maximize client comfort and safety and provide a calm, healing environment.

Areas within the units and on the grounds will offer quiet places to relax, and there will be dedicated visitor areas on each unit where clients can spend time with loved ones, fostering and maintaining meaningful connections that will be vital to their recovery journey.

There will also be spaces for social and spiritual programs and activities, including smudging. Clients will also have access to the community, cultural and recreational activities, and outdoor space that includes gardens, trees and other natural elements. All of these features play a role in wellness and recovery.

New, person-centred care model

The new model of care for the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction provides a holistic framework for identifying client needs and creating an integrated, personalized care plan for each client. Each plan will focus not only on mental wellness and substance-free living, but also physical wellness and living meaningfully. These elements capture the inter-relatedness as well as the range of client needs for their recovery journeys, including transitioning to care in their home communities.

SOURCE: New Centre for Mental Health and Addiction ( )
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