In a bid to fulfill a province-wide directive to bring health care services under one roof, Grand Forks saw the opening of a new community health centre last week.
The Boundary Community Health Centre brings mental health, substance abuse and public health care under one roof in a location that officials hope will make it easier for residents to access these crucial services.
The new facility is located on Second Street just north of the Boundary Community Food Bank and across from the Boundary Medical Clinic. According to a news release from Interior Health, the new facility is larger than the previous stand-alone public health and mental heath offices in Grand Forks. The new location also has large rooms for group counselling and meetings and is wheelchair accessible.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, doctors, staff and politicians were invited inside to tour the facility and talk to staff. The hope is that the modern, bright space will remove some of the stigma associated with seeking treatment for mental health issues.
Cheryl Whittleton, an Interior Health administrator, gave introductions before speaking, followed by MLA Linda Larson and Grand Forks doctor Geoffrey Coleshill.
“The new Boundary Community Health Centre is a bright happy, place. This is an important part of our community and having services work together will only benefit patient care,” said Dr. Coleshill in a media release.
Larson said this move is a good step to bringing Grand Forks in line with province-wide initiatives.
“This was the directive of Health Minister [Terry] Lake, that across the province we should look at getting services together and under one roof,” Larson said. “Interior Health has come on board with that, and this is one of those small but very significant steps.”
The services have always been available, but Larson said she hopes this move ecnourages people to use them more.
“It is not so much that it has not been available. It was just not available in a convenient, accessible spot,” she said.