Fraser Health officials say efforts around mental health are focused on developing services in the community

Mental-health services ‘keep up with growth’

Fraser Health encourages community services rather than hospital care

Mental-health services for South Surrey/White Rock residents are keeping up with the area’s fast-growing population and demographics, officials say.

But there will always be more that can be done.

“It’s always a challenge as populations grow,” Dr. Nigel Fisher, Fraser Health’s program director for psychiatry, acknowledged in an interview early this month.

“Whilst we always would welcome more, I think the White Rock area does reasonably well.”

Fisher – who has been a Fraser Health psychiatrist since October 2010, and in his current role since July 2014 – said efforts around mental health are focused on developing services in the community, rather than in hospital.

He said “95, 99 per cent of people with mental-health problems are being treated in the community, not in hospital, and I think it’s important that’s where we continue to invest.

“We’ve got a pretty comprehensive range of services.”

At Peace Arch Hospital, approximately five psychiatrists have been added to the mental-health tool kit “over the last year or two.”

At 12, the number of in-patient beds for psychiatric patients, however, hasn’t changed. But Fisher said that points to the focus in the past five to 10 years on community services.

“Our emphasis has been on trying to further develop community services rather than have more beds,” he said.

Fisher named the Early Psychosis Intervention Program, which launched its first site in White Rock several years ago, as just one of those services. It was developed to identify people as they first become ill with a psychotic illness, get them into treatment early on and prevent further harm.

“It’s a great program… well-established,” Fisher said.

Other services in the health region include an in-patient rapid-access clinic in ER, where a psychiatric nurse liaison is in place seven days a week; community mental health centres; an RCMP liaison; and contracted outpatient counselling.

Regionally, a “psychosis optimization program” launched in 2011, to ensure collaboration between an individual’s psychiatrist, doctor and other health providers with an aim to improving outcomes.

Resources such as are also part of the arsenal. That website provides information to youth and young adults regarding mental-health issues, including how to recognize signs.

Fisher said there is a particular need for mental-health services for children and youth, and it’s hoped that a new in-patient facility anticipated to open at the end of next year in Surrey will help address that.

For seniors, Fisher said mental-health access is expected to improve through the rebuilding of Royal Columbian Hospital’s mental-health wing, a three-year project.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Glenn Rose

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Most Read