New mental health facility opens in Chilliwack

A $2.7-million 20-bed mental health unit was officially opened Friday by Health Minister Michael de Jong and Chilliwack MLAs John Les and Barry Penner.

A $2.7-million 20-bed mental health unit was officially opened Friday by Health Minister Michael de Jong and Chilliwack MLAs John Les and Barry Penner.

The home-like setting of the Cedar Ridge facility, located in the former Parkholm Lodge building next to the Chilliwack General Hospital will “offer a high quality of life for those requiring specialized mental health care,” de Jong said in a news release.

Initially, Cedar Ridge will accommodate patients transferred from Riverview Hospital, but as they leave the beds will be open to clients from Chilliwack and other communities in the Fraser health region.

“Cedar Ridge is an important asset for the community of Chilliwack,” said Chilliwack MLA John Les. “Mental illness can affect anyone, and families in this community will now benefit from having these services close to home.”

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner said the specialized services at Cedar Ridge are “a great step forward, and will help people recover from mental illness and integrate back into the community.”

The recovery-focussed services include basic life-skills like preparing meals, housekeeping and budgeting. Clients’ length of stay range from six months to two years or longer, depending on individual needs.

The B.C. government invested $1.9 million in the Cedar Ridge program, and the Fraser Valley Regional District contributed $800,000 toward the capital costs.

The 20 Chilliwack beds at Cedar Ridge are among 267 allocated around the Fraser health region as part of a $138-million project by the B.C. government to close Riverview Hospital and move psychiatric patients to community-based facilities.

Patients with serious and persistent mental illness do better in smaller community-based facilities rather than large institutions like Riverview, mental health officials say.