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Youth benefit from expanded programming at new Youth Recovery Centre

Youth with substance abuse and mental health issues are getting more help than ever before since the opening of the new Youth Recovery Centre in Summerside, says Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie.

Minister Currie said in the first six months of the Centre’s operations, many youth and families have benefitted from longer treatment programs and a greater focus on their individual needs.

“We have doubled the number of beds and the length of treatment programs, and introduced 24/7 supports delivered by highly trained staff who have expertise in treating this population,” said the minister. “Families are telling us that the longer treatment and stronger focus on individual client needs are giving their kids a much better chance at recovery.”

The new centre was designed specifically for youth. It has bright and spacious classrooms and treatment areas, common living spaces with games and TVs, a well-equipped kitchen and private bedrooms which youth are invited to personalize. It has been made as homelike as possible so clients are comfortable and able to focus on their recovery.

At a tour of the centre today, Minister Currie commended the staff for accomplishing so much in a short period of time. “Staff have done a tremendous job in getting programs up and running, training new staff and developing partnerships that help youth transition back into the community during and after their treatment,” he said. “We are fortunate to have this beautiful facility and these excellent staff and resources here in Prince Edward Island.”

Manager of Youth Mental Health and Addiction Services Sean Morrison said the program is staffed by 35 people, which is 16 more than before the Centre opened. Among the new staff are a mental health therapist, occupational therapist, program supervisor, youth workers, counselors and support staff.

As a result, the amount of group work and gender specific programming has doubled. Clients can access services like acupuncture and mindfulness which they really enjoy. An occupational therapist is now available to help youth with life skills development and educational youth workers come in to help them keep up with their school work.

After care programs are now available in Summerside as well as Charlottetown, and the length of this program has increased from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. Family support programs are offered to parents for as long as they need them.

“Our goal is to help youth achieve a happier, healthier lifestyle that focuses on positive coping methods, healthy alternatives and holistic approaches to treatment,” Sean Morrison said. “We continue to receive positive feedback from clients and families who are benefiting from the longer programming and better access to clinical support.”

Director of Community and Correctional Services Karen MacDonald said locating the services at the Youth Recovery Centre, which also serves youth in conflict with the law, was the result of a partnership between the departments of Health and Wellness and Justice and Public Safety. “The co-location of services and increased collaboration is breaking down barriers and leading to improved services for young people who struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues,” she said.

Since the Centre opened in April, 24 youth have gone through the program. Only one youth was referred out of province for treatment in the past six months, compared to ten last year. This has resulted in significant cost savings for the province.

For more information on the Strength Program, visit www.gov.pe.ca/newsroom/strength-program.