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P.E.I. will open first mental health, addictions emergency department in Atlantic Canada next week


Prince Edward Island will open its first mental health and addictions emergency department next week.

Anyone who needs urgent mental health, addiction and substance care or “clinical support in times of crisis” can visit the clinic.

“The toughest part for someone experiencing a mental health, addiction or substance use crisis is often just walking through the door,” writes Leslie Warren, Health PEI’s director of Mental Health and Addictions Acute and Complex Care, in a government release.

“We are proud of our partnership with Queen Elizabeth Hospital to strengthen how we care for Islanders by making that initial encounter a more positive one in a dedicated space with supportive mental health and addictions staff.”

The new facility is the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, according to the Prince Edward Island Government.

It is part of the province’s efforts to make urgent mental health and addictions services more accessible to islanders, the government says.

“Having a space that is quiet, that is not in the midst of all the emergency department hustle and bustle, and medical emergencies, I think it’s going to be, really, a game changer,” said Dr. Javier Salabarria, provincial medical director for Mental Health and Addictions, during a Friday news conference.

The new facility cost $9.5 million and will provide people with mental health, addiction or substance use crises with 24/7 access to care. Staff at the facility are trained health-care providers who will “assess, stabilize, and manage urgent care needs,” the government says.

Health-care teams at the new facility will also create treatment plans with patients and connect them to other mental health, addiction or substance use services.

The department shares the same public entrance as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) emergency department.

“Patients will be assessed by the QEH emergency department triage team to ensure those in crisis receive any urgent medical care they need prior to moving into the new space for mental health, addiction and/or substance use care,” reads the release.

The 8,000-square-foot facility has two distinct spaces. The first is a mental health and addictions emergency department, which will open at 8 a.m. on Feb. 27.

“For those individuals who require emergency psychiatric or addiction services, this new Mental Health & Addictions Emergency Department is the first step in their treatment journey,” says Dr. Javier Salabarria, Health PEI medical director of mental health and addictions services.

Short-stay mental health and addictions unit to open later

However, the other portion of the space, a short-stay mental health and addictions unit, will open in the coming months.

“It’s a stepped approach to any new facility. So we want to learn from how the new seven assessment rooms work and how the staff interacts, and then, again, we’ll level that up as we move in the introduction of this into the hospital,” said P.E.I. Health Minister Mark McLane during a Friday news conference.

To be admitted, patients require a psychiatric evaluation, and their stay will be for 72 hours or less.

“A psychiatric assessment is required for admission to the short-stay service,” the government says.

The new emergency department has:

  • seven assessment rooms
  • a family room
  • consult rooms
  • a central workstation for the health-care team

The short-stay unit has:

  • four patient rooms
  • two transition rooms for patients waiting for a mental health bed

“Having streamlined, 24/7 access to a team of health care providers specializing in mental health and addiction treatment will mean Islanders asking for help will get the help they need fast, in a dedicated and welcoming place. This is a life-changing step forward that will touch the lives of so many,” says Mark McLane, minister of Health and Wellness.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Jack Morse.

For more Prince Edward Island news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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