Vancouver Island Health says a new wellness and recovery centre will be opened in Duncan later this year to treat and support people with mental health concerns and substance abuse.

Island Health says it will provide provide primary care, harm reduction, overdose prevention and case management.

The existing mental health and substance abuse programs being provided in the Cowichan Valley will move to the new location in the 58-hundred block of York Road.

Lisa Murphy, VIHA’s Director for Mental Health and Substance Use for Central and Northern Vancouver Island, says having all those services in one location is beneficial, “very powerful for people.”

Island Health Board Chair Leah Hollins says they’re “pleased to find a location that allows us to expand the mental health and substance use services so desperately needed in Cowichan,”

Cowichan MLA Sonia Furstenau says “having one, easily accessible place where people can come for mental health and substance use supports will contribute significantly to the health and wellness of our entire region.”

Among the services to be relocated is Duncan’s safe injection site at 221 Trunk Road.

Island Health says that as it prepares to open the Wellness and Recovery Centre, overdose prevention services will continue to be operated by the Cowichan Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

It has operated the Overdose Prevention Service under contract and funding from Island Health since September 2017.

As it readies the new centralized facility, Island Health is calling for proposals for a service provider that can support the Wellness and Recovery Centre.

Executive Director of Mental Health and Substance Use, Public Health, and Child Youth Strategy with Island Health, Keva Glynn says they’re “grateful for the commitment and support” the CMHA is providing “the overdose prevention service.”