We know that as a client or family member, it is important for you to understand our services and to feel supported and informed throughout the recovery journey.
We have a number of different programs for people across B.C. with severe mental health and substance use/addiction issues. Across all our programs, the safety and well-being of our clients and patients is paramount. To learn more about the role you and your loved one have in ensuring you are safe while in our care, read the BCMHSUS Patient Safety Handbook
You or your loved ones can be referred to the program that best suits their needs. Here’s what you can expect from each of our services:
The Red Fish Healing Centre is a treatment centre in Coquitlam for adults with the most complex concurrent mental health and substance use issues in B.C. We offer comprehensive treatment to help foster mental wellness, substance-free living, physical wellness, meaningful life, family and intimacy, and addressing problem behaviours. All of our care is person and family-centred, recovery-oriented, cultural safety and humble, trauma-informed, and team-based.
Clients have access to a care team made up of psychiatrists, physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, occupational therapists, psychologists, spiritual care practitioners, Indigenous care coordinators, music and art therapists, dietitians, acupuncturists, teachers, and more.
Most clients will spend three months at the centre, but can spend up to nine. There are regular and flexible visiting hours so family can be involved and support their loved one. For families who cannot visit in person, virtual technology helps them connect with their loved one at Red Fish and be involved in care planning rounds. There is also a monthly meeting to support ongoing and enhanced family engagement, called Partnerships in Care.
The Heartwood Centre for Women is a treatment facility for women, including trans women, over the age of 19, residing in B.C. The program treats women with co-occurring substance use and mental health issues. On average, clients stay at Heartwood for three months.
Our care is evidence-based, which means it is informed by research, and trauma-informed, which means that care teams make sure clients feel safe, secure and supported. Treatments include relapse prevention, mindfulness, psychoeducation about substance use, trauma and coping skills, skills groups to improve emotion regulation and relationships, Indigenous cultural programming and more.
At Heartwood, clients have access to addiction physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, recreation therapists, dietitians, an Indigenous care coordinator, music and expressive arts therapies, yoga, and acupuncture.
We encourage families and other loved ones to be involved in care planning and treatment reviews to the extent that they are able and feel comfortable with. In-person visits take place on Sundays and off-site visits on weekends, according to the pass level of the client. For family members unable to visit the site, clients can keep in touch via phone and Zoom using the tablets we have available. We also support visitation with children as much as is possible.
The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital treats people who have been found not criminally responsible for a crime or unfit to stand trial due to a mental disorder (NCRMD). Located in Coquitlam, the hospital also treats clients who have been transferred temporarily from correctional centres to be assessed or treated under the B.C. Mental Health Act.
Our mandate (required by law) is to treat patients and help them integrate safely and gradually back into their communities when and if possible, based on risk assessments. Highly trained and specialized care teams at the hospital include physicians, occupational therapists, rehab workers, nurses, social workers, and more. These providers work with the patient and family members to help their mental and physical health working towards community integration when possible, based on decisions made by the B.C. Review Board, an independent tribunal under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Our care is evidence-based, which means it is informed by research, and trauma-informed, which means that care teams make sure clients feel safe, secure and supported. Trauma-informed care is especially important for forensic clients as most of them have encountered stigma, trauma or extremely challenging childhood experiences.
The average length of stay for first-time patients is over four years before their first conditional discharge. The average patient then spends another 17 months under the review board before becoming fully discharged. The average length of stay for patients at the hospital for an assessment is 28 days.
Families are invited to visit their loved ones during our regular visiting hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 2-4 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m. Visits outside of these regular hours can be arranged for those travelling from outside of the Lower Mainland. Tablets, and long distance calling is available on all units, allowing patients video conference and telephone access to their families.
There is a dedicated Patient and Family Advisory Council and a separate Family Advisory Council through which families can partner and help shape services. For information on how to participate, reach out to your loved one’s assigned social worker.
The Forensic Psychiatric Clinics provide treatment for adults in B.C. with mental health and substance use disorders who are also in conflict with the law. People who have had contact with community corrections or who have been found Not Criminally Responsible due to Mental Disorder or Unfit to stand Trial (NCRMD) are referred to these clinics for ongoing treatment. The clinics also operate the Forensic Sex Offences Program.
Care teams at the Forensic Psychiatric Clinic provide multi-disciplinary treatment to support individual’s needs and treatment goals. The length of time an individual is involved with these clinics varies, based upon the person's unique circumstances. With client consent, family members can be included in the treatment plans and be a part of the individual's circle of care.