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Campbell River crisis team referrals second highest in the province

Mental health concerns, poverty, housing top risk factors behind referrals
Campbell River’s “situation table” receives the second highest number of referrals of people in crisis of any similar team in the province. metro creative stock

Campbell River’s “situation table” – a team that gathers to help vulnerable individuals in crisis access programs and services – receives the second highest number of referrals of any similar team in the province.

Surrey receives the highest.

That’s what Campbell River City Council was told on Tuesday, April 9 during a presentation by Stephanie Hendrickson, project coordinator of the Campbell River Situation Table. Hendrickson appeared before the council’s Committee of the Whole meeting to update councillors on Situation Table data and request support from the city.

“Campbell River has an extremely active table,” Hendrickson said, “and this is thanks to the dedicated agencies and professionals who sit on the situation table weekly. In 2023, we had 61 referrals, 51 of which were accepted.

“Of 26 operational situation tables in the province in 2023, we were second only to Surrey in the number of referrals received. Surrey had 63 referrals.”

Twenty-seven per cent of referrals came from the RCMP, 12 per cent came from Vancouver Island Mental Health Society and 10 per cent came from the probation service.

The province sees Campbell River’s top three risk factors as poverty or financial hardship, a lack of appropriate housing and then association with negative peers. Hendrickson views the data differently than the province does and, consequently, her top risk factors are mental health concerns (which combines diagnosed mental health conditions and suspected mental health conditions, unlike the province which separates them), followed by poverty, housing concerns, criminal involvement, crime victimization, association with negative peers, physical health concerns and then concerns related to meeting basic needs.

“It was most common to receive referrals for adults, followed by young adults and children and youth,” Hendrickson said.

Seniors was the last category but that may reflect the agencies who are represented at the situation table.

They were able to analyze data based on demographics and found that the top risk factor for those under 18 were parenting and supervision concerns, followed by mental health concerns, then suicide or self-harm concerns.

Successful intervention is considered one resulting in an accepted connection to coordinated services that have been offered collaboratively, Hendrickson said.

“We call this overall risk lower as the assumption is that someone who’s actively connected to community services is at lower risk than they were prior to that connection,” she said. “Our table saw 57 per cent of interventions leading to overall risk lowered.”

The next top reason for closure was that the situation was considered systemic in nature and agency partners did not feel that risk can be reduced at all, even with connection to service, Hendrickson said. This sometimes happens with people who are unhoused or have complex needs.

Campbell River’s overall risk lowered rate is lower than the provincial average of 70 per cent. This can be explained by the services that are available in Campbell River, Hendrickson said.

“You can imagine a city like Victoria, Nanaimo or Surrey will have far more resources for a broader range of concerns,” Hendrickson said. “It can also be explained because of the willingness of Campbell River community partners to tackle challenging referrals. Other situation tables chairs often comment that their table partners only reward referrals when they know they can be successful. This is understandable in a time when service agencies are understaffed and overworked.”

Council put forward a motion that a letter of support for improved provincial funding for the situation table be prepared and reviewed.

Alistair Taylor

About the Author: Alistair Taylor

I have been editor of the Campbell River Mirror since 1989. Our team takes great pride in serving our community.
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