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North Bay Regional Hospital to operate Community Withdrawal Management Services

This decision was supported yesterday at the Mayor’s Mental Health and Addictions’ Round Table and it was supported by Round Table members
20200210 mental health clinic king st 1 turl
The North Bay Regional Hospital's mental health and addictions clinic on King St. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

A news release this morning has confirmed that the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) is the preferred operator of community withdrawal management services (WMS) and safe beds at a central location in North Bay.

A staff meeting was held at 10 a.m. to make the announcement, however, media were not invited. Nor have the media been invited to cover any roundtable discussions, and names of the people on the Action Committee have not been made public.

According to the release, NBRHC will start the planning and development of the following programs at 120 King St. West:

  • six safe beds
  • eight community WMS beds
  • two transition beds
  • telephone crisis line for addictions and mental health
  • mobile WMS services
  • addictions day/evening treatment program

Paul Heinrich, President of the North Bay Regional Health Centre gave credit to the Mayor's Roundtable.

“Collectively we’ve raised awareness about the issues facing our city and created a platform for how we can strengthen mental health and addiction services for people living here.

"This decision was supported yesterday at the Mayor’s Mental Health and Addictions’ Round Table and it was supported by Round Table members."

 The report has still not been made publicly available, but BayToday has obtained a copy. To read the full roundtable report click here

“I’m very proud of our team and their ongoing commitment to providing the best possible mental health and addictions care,” says Ann Loyst, Interim VP of Mental Health. “We are mobilized to do the work required to quickly expand our services and continue to support the recommendations put forth by the Mayor’s Mental Health and Addictions’ Round Table.”

"We've always known about mental health and we've always known the drugs are getting stronger and stronger," Mayor Al McDonald told BayToday earlier this week." It was really last summer and last fall where it was visible. People were sleeping in tents and they were OD'ing on the street and that really got the community's interest in what is going on."

McDonald says that it prompted a lot of people to come together and find solutions.

"All the community partners that provide these services really care. They are always talking about their clients." 

The Mayor says the problem is very complex.

"If I was really addicted and sleeping on the street, you can't stop me from sleeping on the street. You can't force me to get help. Even though that person is sleeping on the street, or is high and is loud, they have just as much right to be there as anybody else. If they refuse help there's nothing any service provider can do about it.

"In my 44 years of living in North Bay I never saw someone sleeping on a doorstep, but last summer everywhere I turned I saw tents or people sleeping on the street."

McDonald contends the core of any solution to the problem is a stabilization centre, comparing it to One Kid's Place where children can go and all the services are in one place.

"That's the backbone of the report. I've got my fingers crossed that they move forward with that stabilization centre. That is the critical piece. It's not going to solve all the problems but that's the critical piece."