The BC Nurses Union is calling them cuts to mental health services in Langley and neighbouring Fraser Health communities.
Fraser Health is calling the changes realignment of its evening services.
Evening clinics will be phased out beginning Sept. 1 in at least six centres - Surrey, Langley, New Westminster, the Tri Cities, White Rock and Burnaby, the BCNU said.
"Night clinics offer invaluable services to people who struggle with mental illness, many of whom can't get there during the day because of their work, volunteer or school schedules," said Debra McPherson, President of the BC Nurses Union."It makes no sense for Fraser Health to be reducing mental health services, when the need is greater than ever."
The facilities accept walk-in clients as well as others referred by physicians, covering a range of mental illnesses.
Canada's police chiefs recently met and called on government to provide better mental health services because the burden of dealing with the mentally ill has increasingly fallen to police. The number of people apprehended under the Mental Health Act has more than quadrupled since 2002, according to Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu.
Fraser Health said it is standardizing its hours and revamping its services to where demand is strongest.
The effects in Langley will be the dozen or so people who met as a therapy group once per week, and some two dozen clients who used individual therapy and support services
at two evening clinics per week.
"Fraser Health understands and appreciates that mental mealth programs are a valuable service to the communities we serve," commented Denyse Houde, the Fraser Health director of Clinical Program. "Demands for daytime core services have been steadily increasing and we are unable to meet these demands with the current staff rotations. As such, Fraser Health is standardizing the operating hours of its Community and Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Use sites to improve client access to daytime core services and reduce wait times for increasing demands for outpatient treatment and counselling. This change is not a reduction in service. It is a realignment of our resources from evening hours to daytime hours."
She said most of the clients serviced during the evenings can be helped during daytime hours and others will be helped to find resources in the community for evening help.
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