Eight years ago, Shane Partridge went through the adult treatment program at the Calder Centre in Saskatoon.
Before getting into the program, he had to wait about seven weeks. During that time, Partridge sayshe relapsed twice, and almost didn’t go.
“In those six to eight weeks, a lot of variables can happen,” he said.
“You’re on your own, you lose the momentum going towards obtaining the treatment, and you lose the ability to commit yourself. You need a flow from detox to treatment — and there was such a gap, that flow wasn’t happening and people were relapsing.“
Today, Partridge is a patient adviser with mental health and addictions services in Saskatoon. He spoke about his experience at an announcement for the expansion of services in the adult program at the Calder Centre on Monday, including the addition of six new beds.
“I think it’s going to help in the overall health of our community by improving opportunities for people to get better when they need to and when they want to,” he said.
Last year, the Calder Centre served 377 adult clients with 32 beds. Now, the centre has 38 beds available, and will be able to serve approximately 70 more people a year, according to the centre’s adult program manager, Nicole Schumacher. The average stay at the Calder Centre is about four weeks, but Schumacher said the centre tries to be flexible, and has capacity for those who may need a longer stay.
“We know that the demand for residential treatment beds is very high,” she said. “We serve the entire province of Saskatchewan, so six additional beds means that we can run services for approximately 70 more people a year, which is significant.”
Partridge said it’s important for recovering addicts to able to get the help they need when they’re motivated, because “the six to eight week lapse is a killer when it comes to people trying to get help.”
Within that time frame, he said the only help available is checking in with an addictions counsellor a few times a week, until being able to get into treatment.
“But even getting to the appointments with your addictions counsellor, a lot of things can happen between your home and downtown, right?” he said.
“Especially when you have substances like meth out there that take away the ability to feel emotions, that sense of hopelessness is already ingrained in you — and you don’t have the ability to feel optimistic or to even understand what that means in that moment.”
In addition to the new beds, the Calder Centre also hired three permanent, full-time addictions counsellors, as well as a part-time nurse. The funding for the expansion of adult programming comes from a boost to mental health and addictions in the 2019-20 provincial budget.
Partridge said the staff were — and still are — an important part of his recovery. He believes without the staff, “it would never have been successful,” he said.
“The same addictions counsellor that I had is here today, and we still maintain that relationship with each other. I can’t say enough good things, (the staff) saved my life.”