Lakes District’s counselling services combined

A partnership between Northern Health and Lakes District Community Services (LDCS) is making life much easier for local clients of mental health and addictions programs, with a single location now available for the two services.

An open house to celebrate the combined services was held last week at the Lakes District Hospital

An open house to celebrate the combined services was held last week at the Lakes District Hospital

A partnership between Northern Health and Lakes District Community Services (LDCS) is making life much easier for local clients of mental health and addictions programs, with a single location now available for the two services.

Debbie Strang, director of Northern Health’s Northern Interior Community Mental Health and Addictions programs said to Lakes District News that the services were previously administered by two individual agencies, addiction services went to LDCS and mental health services went to Northern Health.

Between 60 and 70 per cent of clients need both services.

“This is [now] one stop shopping as the client doesn’t have to keep sharing their story to both Northern Health and LDCS.

These are the same programs that have always been available, we are just moving them together,” Strang said.

An addictions case manager from LDCS has now joined Northern Health’s mental health care team at the Lakes District Hospital, effective April 1.

Mental heath services cater specifically to adults, however addictions services are available to both youth and adults.

Mental health services that are available at the Lakes District Hospital include chronic, acute and case stabilization.

“We can meet patients at the hospital, out in the community if they are in the care of another agency, or go to their own homes,” Strang said.

Councillors offer case management and support for the addictions programs, further to that Strang said they are also able to refer clients on to treatment centres.

Clients can participate in either program through self referral, or by referral from a local physician.

Some prevention programs will soon be offered locally, such as education for youth in local schools about addictions and substance abuse.

“The prevention work in schools can take the form of presentations or educational workshops, it really depends on the need of the individual school. The program will take place at a class level, group based work,” she added.

Strang said that combining mental health and addictions services has proven to be successful in other communities.

“It is absolutely a successful program, we have been working on these programs for three years and have had good results come from centres in Prince George, Quesnel and Terrace.”

Joseph Kahn, executive director of LDCS said the partnership will make life easier for the clients.

“We are looking forward to working with Northern Health and are grateful for the opportunity,” he said.

For more information please call LDCS on 250-692-7577 or go to the Lakes District Hospital.