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New West recovery program receives funding to help women and girls overcome addiction

Province provides funding to Westminster House Society
Sheila Malcolmson
Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.'s minister of mental health and addictions, has announced funding for the Westminster House Society.

Westminster House is thrilled to provide gender-specific programming to help girls overcome addiction.

The provincial government has announced it’s provided $270,000 to the Westminster House Society to support several of its programs, including treatment and recovery for youth, trauma-informed gender-specific treatment and wraparound supports for girls and young women aged 14 to 21.

Susan Hogarth, the society’s executive director, said Westminster House is grateful for provincial funding that will enhance youth programs and support adult wellness programs.

In an email to the Record, Westminster House said the society has been working hard for five years to develop a gender-specific program geared toward youth girls and the challenges they face exiting the world of substance abuse, which this takes specialized workers and counsellors trained in the field of adolescents. The new funding from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has helped the society enhance its youth program, lengthen treatment stays and increase the number of families it can help overcome addiction.

According to the province, the funding announced this week is in addition to the nearly $70,000 that the government provided to Westminster House Society in the past two years. In addition to gender-specific supports, the province said the newly announced funding has also supported music therapy, trauma counselling and dialectical behaviour therapy for youth with multiple and severe psycho-social disorders.

"The brave women and girls who seek addiction treatment and recovery help from Westminster House are met with such kindness," Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson said in a news release. "Our government is honoured to support Westminster House Society's much-needed expansion of treatment and recovery services for young women and girls. The powerful voices of the young women and girls I met who are benefiting from these programs will stay with me as we transform B.C.'s system of care."

Based in New West, Westminster House Society is a long-term bed-based recovery centre that has provided supports for women and girls with addictions for four decades.

Hogarth said provincial funding for the adult wellness program has helped Westminster House develop programming over the past four years.

“Our programs focus on looking at health and wellness from a holistic approach,” she said in email to the Record. “Many of our clients come into our facility with trauma, mental health challenges, poor health and poor immunity. Enhanced programming focuses on learning techniques that can help with coping, mindfulness, and dealing with stress and provide physical benefits that increase energy, improve sleep and improve mood.”

The programs are appreciated by the women who have been assisted in their recoveries by Westminster House.

"Acupuncture was good for meditation and taught me how to be myself and be present in the room. Culture experiences was my favourite group because it taught me the value of spirituality,” said Bobby, an alumna of Westminster House. “As a person who has experienced chronic lapses in my recovery, I found that wellness was the piece that was missing, until now."