A new unit at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital is meant to provide fast and sensitive care for mentally ill emergency patients .
The temporary Mental Health Assessment Unit includes seven beds and a nursing station for immediate referrals from emergency.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Director of Mental Health and Addictions says planning for the unit started about three years ago.
Tracy Muggli feels they will now be able to meet the increased demand now that mentally ill or addicted patients are more willing to come forward.
“As we I think have reduced stigma around accessing mental health care and as people have been coming forward more for care we’ve seen an increase in numbers as well as our population in general has increased so, yeah, we have been waiting for this for a while and it’s here today.” said Muggli.
Patient advisor Allan Zabraczki says this type of facility would have been invaluable when he went to emergency twenty years ago during a bipolar episode, as he waited for several hours in a small enclosed room before a doctor finally arrived.
“If that’s how I’d been treated maybe when I get to see the psychiatrist I’m not afraid of him, I’m not thinking, oh, he’s not taking me seriously and then maybe I don’t get worse, I don’t go completely psychotic and have a break,” said Zabraczki.
The unit is funded in part by a 1-million dollar donation from Irene and Leslie Dube (doo-bay).