New health centre for mental illness and substance abuse to be largest in province

At 131,800 square feet it will be the largest facility of its kind in the province.

Photo of Health Minister Terry Lake, Joseph and Rosalie Segal and guests to offi
Photo of Health Minister Terry Lake, Joseph and Rosalie Segal and guests to officially mark the start of construction on the new Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre by The Province of British Columbia

New health centre, supporting those with mental illness and substance use problems, will be largest of its kind in the province

A new eight-storey facility for mental health and substance use inpatient, outpatient and outreach services will be built on the grounds of Vancouver General Hospital, according to a release.

“One in five Canadians is diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “This can take a toll on families, the community and society.”

Medical director of psychiatry for Vancouver General Hospital Dr. Soma Ganesan says families will feel more comforted knowing their loved ones are getting the services they need at the centre to help them get better, back home and in the community.

At 131,800 square feet it will be the largest facility of its kind in the province with a cost of about $82 million ($57 million from the province, $25 million from VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and its corporate and private donors). Philanthropists Joseph and Rosalie Segal contributed $12 million, making the donation one of the largest-ever personal gifts for mental health in Canada.

“A great number of people walking the streets around the world have a mental health problem of one type or another. There is a stigma,” said Joseph Segal. “That’s why this project is so important to us, and we’re glad to see the ground broken and construction moving forward.”

In addition to research and academic spaces, the Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre will have 100 private patient rooms, exercise facilities, areas for meditation and quiet time, rooftop gardens and safe outdoor space.

“The cost and impact of mental illness is great—not just for families and communities, but to the health-care system itself,” said Vancouver Coastal Health president & CEO Mary Ackenhusen.

The facility will meet LEED Gold green building certification standards to minimize its environmental footprint, according to the release, and it is expected to open in spring 2017.

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