Amethyst House opens with enhanced supportive recovery services for women

July 20, 2015

COMOX VALLEY – Amethyst House, a 12-bed residential facility for women operated by the Comox Valley Transition Society, was officially opened today to offer expanded supportive recovery services for women in the Comox Valley. Women who need treatment for substance use will now benefit from access to triple the number of publicly-funded non-acute withdrawal management and supportive recovery beds than previously available.

K’omoks First Nations Chief Rob Everson offered a welcome to staff and guests at an opening celebration and a blessing for the new facility, the women who will live and recover here and the work that will be done at Amethyst House. Amethyst House will begin delivering expanded supportive recovery services to clients on August 24, 2015.

“Providing appropriate services and a caring community is vital to support those facing the enormous challenges of substance use,” said Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley. “Enhancing supportive recovery services and withdrawal management for women in the region strongly reflects the government’s commitment to building community supports to better serve individuals living with substance use issues and support their families.”

The Province provided $250,000 to the Comox Valley Transition Society in 2014/15 to support the Society’s efforts to improve and expand its residential services to women, children and families in the Comox Valley including the Amethyst House project. Island Health will provide the Society with annual operating funding of approximately $250,000.

“We are extremely pleased to continue and expand our partnership with the Comox Valley Transition Society, who have been serving the community for many years, to provide the supports for the women who need them,” said Cheryl Damstetter, Island Health’s Executive Director, Mental Health, Family and Public Health. “The person-centred services offered at Amethyst House will support the women through their personal journey toward recovery and will benefit not only them but also their children, families and communities.”

The Comox Valley Transition Society was the successful proponent to the Island Health Request for Proposal to provide the services that increase the number of publicly-funded community-based registered non-acute withdrawal management and registered supportive recovery beds from three to nine. The society will also offer three private-pay beds for a total of 12 beds at Amethyst House.

Three of the nine beds are for women in need of non-acute, withdrawal stabilization services before they transition to Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use outpatient treatment or other community services. Six beds offer a two-phased supportive recovery service to assist clients to integrate back into the community and secure longer-term safe, stable housing.

The Comox Valley Transition Society will provide Amethyst House with staff 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use staff will provide the clinical services. The staff and clinicians work together with each client to develop an individualized service plan, utilizing supports for clients on-site and by referral, including supportive and therapeutic services and life skills-based training supports.

“The motto for Amethyst House is “He Tlo Qwe La As ~ A Place to Recover”. We are so excited that today, along with Island Health, we are able to bring that place to the women in the Comox Valley who need these wrap-around, supportive services,” said Comox Valley Transition Society Executive Director Heather Ney. “With the collaboration of many community agencies, Amethyst House will be a positive life-changing force for many women impacted by substance use and addiction.”

For more information about the Comox Valley Transition Society visit the Society’s website at the following link:


Media Enquires:
Val Wilson
Regional Manager, Communications
Island Health

Heather Ney
Executive Director,
Comox Valley Transition Society

Frequently Asked Questions

Comox Valley Transition Society to deliver supportive recovery services for women in the Comox Valley at Amethyst House

Why is Island Health enhancing its supportive recovery services?

  • Island Health’s 2012/13 review of substance use services highlighted the need for increased service for women living in North Island.

What is Comox Valley Transition Society?

  • The Comox Valley Transition Society (CVTS) is a registered charitable organization established in 1987. The mission of the organization is to promote the creation of a healthy community through positive contributions to the lives of women, children and families. CVTS offers a wide range of programs and services including shelter, counselling and support, healing and recovery, crisis intervention, advocacy and education, prevention and awareness. The society works collaboratively with other community organizations to respond to the social service needs in the Comox Valley.
  • The Comox Valley Transition Society has been providing residential social detox and supportive recovery services in partnership with Island Health’s Mental Health Substance Use Outpatient Clinic and St Joseph’s Hospital since 1999.

What is supportive recovery?

  • Supportive recovery is the provision of a temporary residential, substance-free setting for adults that provides a safe, supportive environment for individuals who are experiencing substance use problems.
  • Supportive recovery programs deliver services for clients to assist them to prepare for entry into residential treatment, services for clients who have left more intensive residential treatment but who require additional support to reintegrate into the community and services for clients requiring a longer-term structured environment while preparing to transition into a more stable lifestyle.
  • Activities may include coaching for daily living, community reintegration, vocational and educational planning, participating in mutual aid supports, and some counselling and case management. Individuals also access outpatient and other community treatment services and supports.

How will these services be delivered and how much will they cost?

  • Three of the nine beds will be designated for stabilization (withdrawal management) services.
  • Six beds will be designated supportive recovery services.
  • The facility will be staffed 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • The six new beds and three existing beds currently located at Lilli House and funded by Island Health will be located together at the new CVTS facility, Amethyst House.
  • Services will be directed towards women over 19 years of age who have been assessed as appropriate for this level of service and who have been referred by Island Health MHSU clinicians.
  • All clinical treatment will be provided by Island Health’s MHSU staff.
  • The Province provided $250,000 to CVTS in 2014/15 to support the Society’s efforts to improve and expand its residential services to women, children and families in the Comox Valley including the Amethyst House project.
  • Island Health will provide CVTS with an annual operating budget of approximately $250,000 for the delivery of supportive recovery services.

What type of training will CVTS staff have?

  • All CVTS staff members are trained professional addictions counsellors.

Will CVTS continue to operate Lilli House?

  • Lilli House will continue to operate as an 11 bed transition house funded by BC Housing for women who have experienced violence in relationships and their children.

What other services does CVTS offer?

  • Other services provided include: Stop the Violence Counselling, Children Who Witness Abuse Counselling, Triple P Parenting Education, Bridging Employment Services, Homelessness Prevention Program, Legal Information and Support Services, Women’s Wellness Groups including groups for women who have been impacted by violence and addiction, Men’s Healthy Relationships Group, Women’s Drop In Lunch and Services, Community Education and Awareness and BeSafe Girls Groups.

For more information on the Comox Valley Transition Society, visit the society’s website at:


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