News & stories, Renovations Underway at Ridgewood

October 2023

On World Mental Health Day, we bring you an update on the $3.8 million upgrades at Ridgewood Addiction Services in Saint John

“Your environment is essential in your recovery.”

“When you’re in a nice building and you have nice scenes all around you, then when you get out, you want to make your setting that much better,” Tylor Jackson said.

Tylor was encouraged by the renovations underway at Ridgewood Addiction Services. At the time he generously sat down to talk with us, he was completing an eight-week treatment at Ridgewood Addiction Services.

Tylor Jackson has battled addiction for half his life, and he’s grateful for the help he received from the staff at Ridgewood.
Tylor Jackson has battled addiction for half his life, and he’s grateful for the help he received from the staff at Ridgewood.

Tylor told us how grateful he was for the help and care he received at Ridgewood.

“It's a very, very good place and a very good program, and the employees are great. They're here because they love helping people,” Tylor said.

The program has undergone many remarkable transformations that have improved the lives of residents seeking treatment, but the on-site housing needed renovation.

“Right now, the building’s run down — it's old,” Tylor said. “You go to sleep and hear the pipes in the walls. There are a bunch of factors that aren't the greatest.”

But thanks to funding from generous donors, as well as the provincial and federal government, the space will soon be a more comforting and welcoming environment.

Renovations Will Transform Housing into a Warmer, More Supportive Space

Thanks to a funding partnership announced in July 2022, three housing units at Ridgewood will undergo a complete renovation that will transform the living environment for those seeking treatment there.

The provincial government, Horizon Health Network, and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation are each contributing $1.27 million.

The renovations will result in more single-bed rooms as well as more modern and updated common spaces. Research and best practices suggest that a friendly, secure environment is essential to assist people in overcoming addiction and mental health issues.

Contractors show the drawings for what will be the first of three renovations on the Ridgewood campus.
Contractors show the drawings for what will be the first of three renovations on the Ridgewood campus.

On average, 50 clients per month are admitted to the withdrawal management unit for a variety of reasons, including alcohol addiction, opiate use disorders, intravenous drug use, and gambling. Most of these people also have mental health concerns, such as trauma, depression, or anxiety.

“This investment will improve Horizon’s ability to provide care and services for the patients and clients we serve at our Ridgewood campus,” said Jean Daigle, vice president of community for Horizon Health Network. “Our healthcare team is looking forward to providing care in a modern setting where our patients and clients can feel safe and welcome, which are two key elements in supporting their recovery journeys.”

As Tylor explained, these new modern spaces will help people recover from addiction and stay sober. It also shows them a better way of living.

“It's a good example of the way that you can live when you leave Ridgewood,” he said.

Life Has Really Turned Around for Me

When Ron Devlin arrived at Ridgewood, he described himself as being “in pretty bad shape.”

“I had the clothes on my back,” he said. “Now I’ve got too many,” he added with a chuckle.

Ron faced trauma from a young age. At 11, he lost his father to suicide. His stepfather disciplined him and his brother with leather belts. The family lost everything in a fire…

“I have trouble dealing with certain events in the past,” Ron told us. “I always have a hard time changing. I don't like change of any type. The slightest bit of change would set me off towards using.”

He explained how something as small as someone sitting in his favourite chair would set him off. “The blood would rush to my head, my ears started ringing,” he said.

Ron Devlin is excited about his future thanks to his treatment from Ridgewood.

But at Ridgewood, Ron learns skills like meditation, journaling, and breathing techniques to help him cope.

“Minor things that I used to get so upset about now don't affect me whatsoever,” he said.

“It's a work in progress. Life has really turned around for me. I'm not naïve enough to think, ‘Oh, roses from here on in’ because, you know, I go out on passes and run across these conflicts every day that I have to work around. But I really have no fears, or a lot less fears, of getting myself in trouble by getting triggered by certain events.”

“I'm a tremendous amount better than what I was, and I can only thank the people here. They really work hard to get us where we’re going,” he added.

The program has done so much for Ron, and he feels will only improve that much more when the renovations are complete. “It’s really, really good. I couldn’t be more thankful. It’s completely changed my life, and I know it’s changed other lives — and hopefully you know that.”

When asked what he’d like to say to the kind donors who supported the Ridgewood renovations, Ron said, “to the donors… I could just give them all big hugs,” he added, gratitude evident in his eyes and voice.

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