Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jul 2008
Source: Prince Rupert Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Sterling Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Cara Wintersgill
Bookmark: (Treatment)


A staff shortage has shut down Northern Health's only directly funded
residential drug treatment program, but the closure is unlikely to
have much of an impact on Rupertites seeking treatment. The 10-bed
Nechanko Treatment Centre in Prince George has been closed temporarily
for the summer.

"There is the possibility that it will open if we have enough staff to
run the program," said Beth Ann Derksen, area manager for mental
health and addiction services for the Northwest.

Treatment in Nechanko was a planned 30-day event for people who were
at the end-stage of their recovery. It was not an emergency treatment
and the admission process was lengthy.

At least six staff members are required to run the program and the
team leader is away on leave.

Derksen agrees that it would be fair to say not too many people from
Prince Rupert used the facility.

"A lot of people in the Northwest like to receive treatment as close
to home as possible," she said.

There are two First Nations treatment centres in the Northwest, with
the Haisla Healing Centre in Kitimat Village the closest to Rupert.
Haisla accepts non-Aboriginal patients as well.

In November 2007, Northern Health released the results of a
consultation report called Let's Talk About Addictions and Mental
Health. The report concluded that Northern Health planned to look at
improving the service people receive in a crisis, especially at the
Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.

Derksen, who recently took over as area manager, was part of that
consultation process.

"We're in the process of actively recruiting for a couple of positions
for the Prince Rupert mental health team and once we're successful in
that recruitment, our team will be up to full strength and we will be
able to respond as soon as possible," she said.

"The other thing that people need to know in Prince Rupert is that
they can actually phone in and talk to people at the mental health
centre there. They don't have to be referred by a physician. They can
refer themselves." 
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