Devastating fire, pandemic increases the urgency for a new Mental Health unit at Burnaby Hospital

Devastating fire, pandemic increases the urgency for a new Mental Health unit at Burnaby Hospital

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, in any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. With the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic weighing on us all, and Burnaby and East Vancouver’s substance use crisis, the local numbers may well be even more severe.

In response to the mental health issue, Phase One plans for the redevelopment of Burnaby Hospital includes a new 30-bed Mental Health and Substance Use Unit that will enable the mental health team to care for more patients in a bright purpose-built space designed for optimal, safe care.

The need for inpatient mental health services is rising steadily, and today’s patients are increasingly complex. To complicate matters further, the current unit which was already often operating at capacity, suffered a devastating fire, and has been closed. As a result, the teams and patients are spread throughout the region, with some in Ridge Meadows and Langley. All outpatient services that can be delivered in home are, or where possible, done virtually. Failing that, patients are accessing care through the Emergency Department. There is work being done to refit a medical ward on the 4th floor, but this is only stop gap and not the capacity of the previous area.

With the current facilities continuing to age, and with the extra complications created as a result of the fire and pandemic, Burnaby Hospital Foundation is asking for urgent support for the redevelopment project.

For more information on the redevelopment of Burnaby Hospital, including the new mental health and substance use unit, please visit bhfoundation.ca/brightfuture.