Smiles order of the day at the Carlile Centre grand opening celebration
After weeks of rain and as if on cue, the clouds parted and the sun shone as North Shore MLAs, members of the Squamish Nation, Coastal COO Karin Olson, VCH staff, a parent, donors and Lions Gate Hospital Foundation gathered to celebrate the official opening of the new Carlile Youth Concurrent Disorders Centre Thursday morning.
Bright, beaming faces and pride were the order of the day.
Located on the 3rd floor of the HOpe Centre, the 10-bed inpatient unit that will serve youth 13 to 18 in the VCH region will start to welcome patients in early April.
“The Carlile Centre will support a segment of the community who are old enough to have become significantly involved in substance use and have a co-existing mental illness,” said Dr. Jordan Cohen, Carlile Centre medical manager and one of unit’s three psychiatrists.
“However, and this is important, we are also intervening at a time in their life when their identity is still forming. They haven’t yet figured out what their purpose is in life, or what their path is going to be. If we set those individuals on the right path, with the right supports, we can have a wonderful ripple effect – from the initial gratitude and satisfaction one gets when you improve the health of one person’s life to the effects of showing others in their community who are also dealing with similar issues that wellness can be achieved.”
The unit’s design reflects growing recognition of the need for youth-appropriate services for more effective treatment results. It has private bedrooms with natural sunlight, as well as spacious recreation and treatment areas, access to a gym, private spaces to reflect, read or play guitar, and areas where family members can spend time with their child or talk with staff. Patients will be able to continue with school work to normalize their schedules and support their recovery journey.
“When I look at the clinical planning that has gone into the new Carlile Centre, I see passion and dedication, paired with a thoughtfulness of the young people who will be on the receiving end of our care,” said Karin.
“When I look at the space itself – airy, bright, open and flooded with natural light – I am filled with optimism for the youth who will spend time here to get the help they need. This is a much needed-unit.”
A mother’s story
For parent Deborah Maguire Tucker, who lost her oldest son five years ago to concurrent disorder related suicide, the Carlile Centre will provide long-awaited access for youth on the North Shore and across the region.
“The coping mechanisms that Owen created in elementary school to maintain himself academically and socially could no longer sustain the increasing challenges of high school and he gradually became more isolated and started self-medicating,” said Deborah. “The subsequent 10-year journey accessing resources was primarily crises driven as access to care in BC was extremely limited and while concurrent disorders was a recognized disorder they were managed and supported very separately… Owen eventually lost hope. Had a place like the Carlile Centre existed 10 years ago, I believe Owen would still be with us.”
Thanks to Jack and Leone Carlile
The centre was developed thanks in part to noted West Vancouver philanthropists and donors Jack and Leone Carlile. Jack Carlile passed away at LGH in September 2016.
Anne Carlile, niece to Leone and Jack, spoke on behalf of the Carlile family.
“The open shell that Jack and Leone toured last year has been transformed into a remarkable, welcoming treatment facility. Their biggest wish was to ensure health, hope and healing for our struggling younger generation…a place to build spirit. This is the place.”
For referral information, visit www.vch.ca/carlile.