Service Delivery Changes Announced for Salt Spring Mental Health Services


Salt Spring Island Community Services welcomed the news from Island Health this week that they are increasing funding for mental health supports that have, so far, been unavailable or underfunded on Salt Spring.

Island Health announced that they are increasing investment in mental health and substance use care provision on Salt Spring and the outer Southern Gulf Islands this week. Among the changes announced were an increase in the number of clinicians and hours of service delivery. Other changes include establishing a new site apart from the current array of services for direct provision by Island Health, and shifting management of the services to Victoria

Salt Spring Community Services has delivered the adult mental health and addiction services on Salt Spring under contract for the last two decades. Contracted services have not, however, been funded at levels in line with those that are available in other comparable communities where services are delivered directly by Island Health.

“There have been repeated calls for funding parity for our community in the Southern Gulf Islands over the last decades,” said Rob Grant, Community Services Executive Director. “We welcome the decision to increase funding for Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands and we are hopeful that this will result in services here coming into line with the rest of the province.”

Salt Spring Community Services delivers an array of services that are coordinated with adult mental health and substance use services. Homelessness, Outreach, Child and Youth Mental Health, Victim Services and other mental health services not funded by Island Health, such as vocational rehabilitation rely on coordination with Island Health funded mental health services.

“It is not yet certain how the services that are integrated with mental health care are going to be affected”, said Grant. “We haven`t been informed of any service enhancements in those areas. It will take some time to analyze the impacts of segregating Island Health funded services from other community based services and to identify how to adapt organizationally in the most responsible way.”

Current contracts in place for services run through Community Services expire in mid-July leaving a brief period in which to transition case management, counselling as well as emergency response and urgent short term assessment and treatment (USTAT) services.