Innovation Fund investments to support St. Paul’s Mental Health Hub

June 15th, 2016
Dr. Bill MacEwan, department head, psychiatry at St. Paul’s, visits a patient on the Downtown Eastside - Photo by Wendell Phillips

Dr. Bill MacEwan, department head, psychiatry at St. Paul’s,  visits a patient on the Downtown Eastside – Photo by Wendell Phillips.

“We want to make sure Vancouver is a city that supports residents with mental health challenges and treats addiction as a health issue, not a criminal one,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson

Today, City staff will present a report to Council recommending investments from the Innovation Fund to support much needed projects, ranging from a civic Solutions Lab to a St. Paul’s Mental Health Hub.

St. Paul’s Mental Health Hub

The largest funding request is for Council to approve in principle a grant of $1,000,000 to the capital portion of the overall costs of developing a proposed new St. Paul’s Mental Health Hub, a multi-partner project which aligns with the recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions.

Intent of the Hub

The intent of the Hub is to improve quality of service for people who are struggling with serious mental health and addictions issues by providing quicker service and decreasing the ‘revolving door’ of crisis response.

Once people are stabilized at the Hub, the Vancouver Police Foundation Transitional Centre will fill a critical transition gap by providing referral to housing, other social services, and follow-up care.

Our partners

The report calls for staff to report back to Council for formal approval of the grant once a Memorandum of Understanding has been concluded with the other funding partners:

  • Providence Health Care
  • Vancouver Coastal Health
  • St. Paul’s Foundation
  • Vancouver Police Foundation
  • Streettohome Foundation


Mayor Gregor Robertson

“We want to make sure Vancouver is a city that supports residents with mental health challenges and treats addiction as a health issue, not a criminal one,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The Mental Health Hub addresses the immediate needs of Vancouver’s most vulnerable and fills a critical transition gap in patient care. Strong partnership and cooperation between Providence Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, St. Paul’s Foundation, Vancouver Police Foundation, and the City makes this innovative program possible.”

Laura Case, chief operating officer, VCH-Vancouver Community

“Mental health and substance use services can be challenging for clients to navigate, especially in a time of crisis. The new Mental Health Hub will build on key partnerships to place our caregivers where they need to be to stabilize clients, and then offer continuity of care with safe, supported transitions back to the community after they leave hospital,” says Laura Case, chief operating officer for VCH-Vancouver Community. ‎

Dr. Bill MacEwan, department head, psychiatry, St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care

“This is an exciting and important initiative to address growing and urgent needs of people suffering from mental health and substance use issues in Vancouver,” says Dr. Bill MacEwan, department head, psychiatry, at St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care. “Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care and St. Paul’s Foundation are extremely grateful for the City’s and the VPD Foundation’s support. We believe the Hub puts the patient at the centre of care, providing comprehensive services, improving transitions out of the hospital and connecting patients to important services in the community.”

Dick Vollet, president and CEO, St. Paul’s Foundation

“We applaud the innovation being brought to life through this partnership and our donors’ support, which will see modular, mobile care space for the Hub at the current hospital site,” says Dick Vollet, president and CEO, St. Paul’s Foundation. “It’s a creative solution to meet the urgent need of one of our most vulnerable patient populations, and the world-leading care modelled at the Hub will be carried forward to our Centre for Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction at the new St. Paul’s.”

VPD Chief Constable Adam Palmer

“With the financial assistance of the Vancouver Police Foundation, and our partners at the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care, and the St. Paul’s Foundation, we will have the resources to provide urgent support for those living with a mental illness,” says VPD Chief Constable Adam Palmer. “The Hub will efficiently connect patients with care givers, reduce wait times, and provide long-term solutions to the complex challenges associated with mental illness and drug addiction.”

Hub funding

Sources of leveraged funding for the $5,500,000 St. Paul’s Mental Health Hub include:

  • $1,750,000: St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation
  • $750,000: VPD Foundation
  • $3,000,000: annualized operating funds from Vancouver Coastal Health / Providence Health Care

Hub location

Pending Council’s approval, the City will enter into a partnership with the above organizations to develop a Hub that will be located at the current St. Paul’s Hospital site and provide rapid psychiatric and substance use response to individuals who arrive at St. Paul’s emergency in a crisis situation because of serious mental health and addictions issues

Hub staffing and opening

It is anticipated that 5,000 people will be diverted from the emergency department. Anticipated timeline for opening of the Hub is 2016 / 2017.

Move towards resilience-building, prevention

The report recommends support for a total of eight actions and three temporary staff positions that will help us tackle some of our most complex social challenges.

By working together with numerous partners on priority actions, this approach will move efforts upstream, from costly crisis intervention towards resilience-building and prevention to help address serious mental health, addictions, and poverty.

The report also acknowledges the great strength that Vancouver has in its diversity and aims to foster inclusion and social connections, with the ultimate vision of creating neighborhoods and a city where everyone is welcome and everyone belongs.

 Source: The City of Vancouver

To read the full article, click here.

St. Paul's Foundation