A new, unique treatment centre for youth is about to open in Chilliwack.
The centre, named Traverse, is the first in the Fraser Health region to exclusively support young people ages 13 to 18 years old who require an extended stay in a treatment facility to address their substance-use challenges.
The 20-bed centre is located beside the IHOP at 45456 Yale Road, and was designed with feedback from youth who have struggled with substance use, as well as their parents.
“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. “For many years, young people have struggled to access treatment and the supports they need to start their recovery journey. Our government has been working to turn that around and these new treatment beds at Traverse are an excellent addition to our growing continuum of vital culturally-safe services to help young people become healthy again.”
The project was announced in the spring of 2018, as overdoses in young people were on the rise.
A government release says that Traverse will provide “team-based residential care tailored to each youth.” That will include comprehensive assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for up to six months. Individualized growth plans for each patient will help them address their addiction, while supporting them to develop skills to maintain wellness.
The team will include clinical counsellors, addiction workers, nurses, a recreation lead and other. The centre will focus on counselling and network-building to work through relationship concerns and help youth establish a support network among their peers, and to reinforce that they are not alone in their recovery from substance use.
They will also use indoor and outdoor recreational activities to connect patients to nature, promote physical activity and build confidence mastering a new skill. It is touted as a safe space to explore cultural and spiritual beliefs that may support youth in recovery. Finally, they will use skills training, such as continuing education courses and cooking and volunteer programs to support young people in preparing for the future when they are on the road to recovery.
Brody Van Velze, 21, has lived experience with substance use since age 14 and has been sober for over four years.
“Traverse is the exact type of place that youth struggling with substance abuse need to support their recovery,” he said. “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. Daily meetings and getting outside for activities and building a sense of unity and connection with others helps make recovery more fun. If you are able to have fun doing something, I think you are more likely to stick with it.”
Culturally safe programming was 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 are involved in day-to-day programming through group and one-on-one meetings, weekly cultural groups and arranging for other Indigenous Elders to visit.
Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) has been contracted by the Fraser Health Authority to operate Traverse, and will work closely with the health authority’s mental health and substance-use team to support the unique needs of each patient.
The government provided $3.7 million to Fraser Health, while BC Housing has invested $5 million to buy the property and build the site. Fraser Health Authority will provide ongoing operational funding for the site.
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