British Columbia

Youth substance-use treatment facility opening in Chilliwack

Traverse, a 20-bed treatment centre in Chilliwack, will provide specialized support for young people ages 13 to 18 in the Fraser Health region who are living with substance-use challenges.

20-bed centre will exclusively support people aged 13-18

The new treatment facility was designed with feedback from youth who have struggled with substance use and their parents, according to the ministry. (Twitter/Fraser Health)

Young people in the Fraser Valley struggling with addiction will soon have access to a new substance-use treatment centre created exclusively for them.

Traverse, a 20-bed facility for youth aged 13-18, is expected to open as soon as next week, according to the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

Each resident will receive team-based care tailored to their needs — including comprehensive assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for up to six months.

The team-based care includes clinical counsellors, addiction workers, nurses and recreation leads that will help connect patients to nature and promote physical activity.

"The majority of youth in B.C. live in the Fraser Health region, which is why the opening of Traverse is an important addition to the continuum of services we can provide youth who are struggling with substance use," said Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health in a statement.

Fraser Health will provide ongoing operational funding for the site, which was purchased and built with financing from BC Housing.

Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS), an organization with 35 years of experience providing accredited social services in B.C., has been contracted by the Fraser Health Authority to operate Traverse.

Recreation leads at the facility will help connect patients to nature and promote physical activity. (Twitter/Fraser Health)

Located at 45456 Yale Rd., Chilliwack, the site was designed with feedback from youth who have struggled with substance use and their parents, according to the ministry.

Brody Van Velze, 21, who experienced substance use from age 14 but has been sober for more than four years, said in a statement that Traverse is the exact type of place that youth struggling with substance abuse need to support their recovery.

"When the team was building Traverse, I was able to talk to them about what was important to me in my recovery and how I think these factors could help others," said Van Velze.

"Getting outside for activities and building a sense of unity and connection with others helps make recovery more fun."

Culturally safe programming

The ministry said culturally safe programming for Indigenous youth at Traverse has also been developed through consultation with local Indigenous leaders, youth and communities in order to best incorporate cultural experiences and learnings.

Traverse's Elder and Indigenous partners will be involved in day-to-day programming through group and one-on-one meetings, weekly cultural groups and arranging for other Indigenous Elders to visit.

"This new facility is going to change the lives of youth who are struggling with substance use challenges," said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions in a media release.

In June, the ministry also announced that eight new Foundry centres are being developed in the province that will give young people and their families faster and easier access to mental-health and substance-use services.

Foundry is an integrated health and wellness service for people aged 12-24.

The eight new Foundry centres will be operated by the following agencies:

  • Burns Lake: Carrier Sekani Family Services.
  • Comox Valley: John Howard Society of North Island.
  • Cranbrook: Ktunaxa-Kinbasket Child and Family Service Society.
  • Langley: Encompass Support Services Society.
  • Squamish: Sea to Sky Community Services Society.
  • Surrey: Pacific Community Resources Society.
  • Port Hardy: North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society.
  • Williams Lake: Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association

According to a government spokesperson, it takes one to two years to open a Foundry centre.