Burnaby Hospital’s New Mental Health and Substance-Use Zone is Unveiled

Michelle de Leon / January 7, 2020

Burnaby Hospital patient, Axel Suave (bottom left) and Health Minister, Adrian Dix (bottom middle) along with staff gather to tour the new Mental Health and Substance Use zone.

(Michelle de Leon / BCIT News)

One of the province’s busiest emergency departments has a new zone that has added more specialized services for mental health care.

The Mental Health and Substance-Use zone is part of the multi-phased redevelopment of Burnaby Hospital, with a $1.3 billion dollar investment from the B.C. government to update the aging facilities.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the new zone and addition of 12 staff to the team of specialized health-care professionals will help over 4,300 patients each year.

“The improvements today will provide better, more thoughtful care for patients.” – Adrian Dix, Health Minister

Burnaby hospital patient, Axel Suave, draws from his own experience with the difference that the new facility will make.

Suave explains that when he first came into the hospital, the emergency care was not appropriate for a mental health crisis.

“There’s so much stimulus around, and the nurses have to attend to crises and needs that the mental health is not fully supported in that kind of structure.” – Axel Suave, Burnaby Hospital patient

Suave says patients with mental health needs can now come to the common therapeutic environment and feel validated with their experiences.

“And now having this environment right here – calming, therapeutic and specialized care with doctors and nurses that know where you’re coming from, and with several interview rooms where you can have your family around and get supported… I think it’s great.”  – Axel Suave, Burnaby Hospital patient

The reconstruction of the space cost $3.73 million dollars, with a third of the contributions provided by the Burnaby Hospital foundation and Burnaby Firefighters Charitable Society.

“I think what’s extraordinary to happen in this case, is that there was a huge community effort in support of mental health and addictions, something that had not happened in the past. It engaged all of us, and there’s value in that process of involving people.” – Adrian Dix, Health Minister

The new zone builds on other investments of Burnaby Hospital and in community, including reconstruction of the new entrance and admitting area as well as community out-patient services.

The new facility features a separate entrance from the main emergency department, a seclusion room, confidential assessment rooms, a nourishment centre with food and a shower room to support patient comfort.

(Michelle de Leon / BCIT News)

Further construction on the expansion of Burnaby Hospital will begin in 2021, with the first new six-story tower that will have 78 beds and an upgraded mental health and substance use inpatient unit along with a new maternity ward.