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Richmond woman decries upcoming closure of teen mental health facility

A petition to keep the Carlile Centre in North Vancouver has garnered almost 700 signatures.
A facility for teens with mental health and addictions will be transitioned for use by young adults.

A Richmond mother has started a petition to stop the closure of a teen mental health facility in North Vancouver.

The Carlile Centre will “transition” on March 15 from serving teens aged 13 to 18 to serving young adults aged 18 to 25, according to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).

Ruth Kelly, who lives in Richmond, is trying to garner 1,000 names on her petition, after which she wants to take it the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jennifer Whiteside to advocate to keep the centre open for teens.

On VCH’s website, it states the “current model of care” at the centre will transition to community and hospital-based programs.

“To say I’m devastated is an understatement, as my family has lived experience with Carlile helping us, and its closure will deny other teens and their families that help in the future,” Kelly told the Richmond News.

Nevertheless, Kelly said she doesn’t want to “sacrifice” having a space for young adults as well.

“I think we need both,” she added.

The Carlile Centre is located at the HOpe Centre in conjunction with Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.

The petition on set up by Kelly has already garnered almost 700 signatures.

In the petition, Kelly calls the centre a “lifeline” for youth with mental health and substance-use issues and notes it’s the only one of its kind in Western Canada.

She cites statistics from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) that about five to seven per cent of youth and young adults in Canada have had a serious mental illness.

“It would be an enormous setback not just on individual lives but also on our collective efforts towards addressing mental health and addiction issues among our youth population,” the petition reads.

Kelly noted that more than 17,000 people signed a recent petition against a safe consumption site in Richmond and, at a council meeting, many people called for more treatment for mental health and addictions.

She said she’d like to see these people “put those words and declarations into action” and sign her petition to keep the in-patient centre for 13 to 18-year-olds.

Kelly has also been advocating for at least five psychiatric youth beds at the Richmond Hospital.

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