Gov't funds expansion of Baldy Hughes

The Baldy Hughes Therapeutic Community and Farm added 20 new beds to treat men with complex mental health and substance abuse issues, thanks to $1 million in additional funding from the B.C. government, according to a statement issued by the province.

The province officially announced the funding on Monday, but the treatment centre - located about 30 kilometres southwest of Prince George on a former military base - has already opened the 20 new beds and has filled 13 of them. The funding will also support the addition of three full-time registered nurses and one full-time occupational therapist.

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"Every day men arrive at Baldy Hughes devastated by the effects of long-term addiction and distruptions to mental health. And every day I am also awed at their achievements in meeting the challenges of recovery," B.C. New Hope Recovery Society executive director Rodger Travale said in a written statement.

The society operates the Baldy Hughes facility, which offers a one-year recovery program including an intensive 12-step group addictions treatment, animal and horticultural farm programs, vocational training, intensive counselling, occupational therapy and health, fitness and leadership activities.

The facility now offers a total of 65 beds, and graduates between two and five men per month.

"We believe in the recovery process," local MLA Shirley Bond said in a written statement. "Each person who goes through the program at Baldy Hughes has value, and we're showing our commitment to them personally by providing help so Baldy Hughes can continue their work with those facing the challenges of mental health and substance use concerns."

The Ministry of Health statement said the investment in Baldy Hughes fits with the province's 10-year mental health and substance use plan -Healthy Minds, Healthy People - which focuses on prevention, early intervention, treatment and sustainability.

"The Ministry of Health is committed to providing the best supports to help people with substance use problems and serious addictions," Health Minister Terry Lake said in a statement.

"We consider substance use problems a public health issue, and support a range of approaches, including both harm reduction programs and recovery-based programs like Baldy Hughes. When I visited the Baldy Hughes farm earlier this year, I saw first-hand how the program has helped many people who struggle with mental health and addictions onto a better path in their life."

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