Anthony Neptune, Fraser Health manager rehabilitation and recovery services. (Special to The News)

Anthony Neptune, Fraser Health manager rehabilitation and recovery services. (Special to The News)

Recruiting a new team to help those struggling with mental illness

Maple Ridge man leading Fraser Health’s efforts in his hometown

Fraser Health is hiring 11 professionals to comprise a new mental health outreach team in Maple Ridge, and the man assembling the squad has deep roots in the community.

Anthony Neptune has already filled some of the positions – nurses, a psychiatrist, social workers, outreach workers and peer support workers.

The Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team will support people living with serious, persistent mental illness. These are often clients having trouble managing daily life, and some will be struggling with addiction and homelessness.

A key part of the new team’s approach, is that they will go to their clients, and not expect them to come to an office appointment.

“The entire team supports the entire cohort of individuals,” said Neptune. “The team is going to be out in the community, where the people are.”

“We will go and see people where they live.”

He calls it a proactive approach to providing services, and said research proves this approach works well for people who have had problems accessing services. They may be trying to get by living on the streets, and they may be frequently engaged with emergency services, or turning up at the Ridge Meadows Hospital ER, he said.

Approximately 75 per cent of their services will be delivered in people’s homes, in shelters, parks or cafes.

They don’t work with clients who have substance use problems without a mental health issue.

Neptune, a Fraser Health manager in rehabilitation and recovery services, is glad to see Maple Ridge getting an ACT team. He grew up here, graduated from Maple Ridge secondary, and his children attended Thomas Haney secondary. He still lives in his home community. So the issue of Maple Ridge’s wellness hits home.

“I know the reality – some of the people struggling in our community are people who I went to school with,” he said.

“One of the things that drives me to help people, is that this is someone’s friend, someone’s brother, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s son.”

They address issues like housing, giving their clients stability in their lives, and do intensive work with them. They can help them get medication, take them grocery shopping, get them counselling and treatment, and connect them with services. There is a wide range of supportive activities in work known as psycho-social rehabilitation.

“Individuals usually don’t need this level of service for their rest of their life,” said Neptune. “They improve. They get better.”

That has been the experience in Surrey, where the first ACT team in Fraser Health went to work in 2012. By 2015 they added a second team, and soon the two teams were helping up to 170 people at a time.

READ ALSO: Treating an ‘invisible condition’

The teams have had an impressive track record so far, and Maple Ridge is one of six communities to receive a new one this year. They were announced in September, and there will also be new teams in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Nanaimo and Cowichan/Duncan.

“We are thrilled to welcome more supports to our vibrant community and know that the expertise and experience of a new ACT team will provide a connection to vital services that many people living with severe mental health challenges have been looking for,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “To have a qualified team of professionals working together to support someone’s unique circumstances is the best way to get them on the right path, and that’s what this team will do in our community.”

READ ALSO: Mobile mental health team coming to Maple Ridge

Neptune would like to see the team begin its work as soon as February. They will provide services seven days a week.

“There are folks right now who need support,” he said. “I’m really excited to see it in Maple Ridge.”


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Drugsmaple ridgemental healthPitt Meadows

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Maple Ridge resident impressed with frontline workers when husband hurt

From police to health professionals, everyone who cared for injured senior deserves praise

Residents of Golf Lane say they are tired of their houses and vehicles being hit by golf balls from the nearby Maple Ridge Golf Course, and worry someone is going to get killed by a wayward drive. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge Golf Course neighbours say they need protection

City willing to explore solutions says director of parks

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Ineke Boekhorst with the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association says Sparkle has been a huge hit with downtown businesses. (The News files)
Maple Ridge business to get free Earth Day window cleaning

Event put on by the Downtown Maple Ridge BIA and Christian Life Assembly

Allen, Mel, and Trevor Leung pose on the Whitecaps field in Vancouver. (Special to The News)
Community rallies to support Maple Ridge man suffering from paralysis, kidney issues

GoFundMe set up to help Allen Leung and his family during difficult times

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read