Say ‘yes’ to the Contact Centre

I am writing in response to the front page article “Residents mobilize against contact centre location” published in the Progress newspaper on Friday Feb. 18th.

Dear potential neighbors of proposed Health Contact Centre:

Without question, you have legitimate questions and concerns. Please do not block the opportunity for the Health Contact Centre to be established. Please take part in building a program that has tremendous potential to affect positive change in our community.

The Health Contact Centre will reach out to some of our most troubled citizens. The people who will be served by this program already live here; and are fighting huge battles around addictions, mental and physical health, literacy, education, employment, life skills, poverty and relationships. Some need an incredible amount of consistent long term support. They don’t need us to battle them – they need to be supported to fight the battles they already have. Please say ‘yes’ to the Health Contact Centre for their sake.

Families are really suffering. I have visited bereaved parents after losing their son to suicide. Their son lost hope of ever getting out of his entangled mess of drugs and crime. I know families who have written on walls of buildings as a way of getting a message to their loved one who was “out there somewhere”. I’ve been with families as they bear the pain at a funeral where they haven’t actually seen their person for years. I’ve seen the cost that spouses and children pay. I’ve seen the anguish of family and friends who don’t know how to begin drawing in support after they’ve realized their loved one is in trouble. Please say ‘yes’ to the Health Contact Centre for their sake.

It takes a huge amount of compassion and perseverance to work with those who are most troubled, and organizations like Community Pacific Resources Society (along with a number of others) need our support to do the best job they can. Please say ‘yes’ to the Health Contact Centre for their sake.

As well as caring directly for this particular population group, in a way, the front line people are working on our behalf too. The anticipated outcome is better health for people who access the cluster of proposed services. I cannot paint our most troubled citizens with one brush, however, there are potential benefits for all of us. For example, better health for them, could positively affect Chilliwack’s crime, health and employment rates, as well as emergency room numbers and wait time. Please say – yes – to the Health Contact Centre for our sake.

Thank you in advance for considering these thoughts.

Debbie Denault