Our Story

Vancouver Island Mental Health Society (VIMHS) is a non-profit organization that has been providing services in the Nanaimo region for more than forty years.

Our Origins

Our first program began in the 1970s when a group of concerned citizens recognized the need for safe transitional housing for psychiatric patients discharged from hospital. That group of community members, in partnership with the Knights of Columbus, founded the Columbian Centre Society, and Columbian House, our first residential facility, opened its doors to residents.
The Society’s stated purpose was to “provide both a suitable residential environment and a program which would assist people discharged from psychiatric treatment centers to make a successful re-entry into their community”.

VIMHS provides opportunities for recovery

The Columbian Centre Society became the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society in 2014. The name change reflects the Society’s continuing efforts to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness as well as an increase in programming in the Central Island. Since the establishment of Columbia House, now known as Gateway House, VIMHS programs have expanded to include additional transitional housing, supportive housing, and independent housing, two sobering and assessment centres, and an overdose prevention service.

As society changes, and mental health challenges emerge, Vancouver Island Mental Health Society will continue to provide community-based mental health, housing and harm reduction services to those in need.

VIMHS is looking forward to 40 more years of service and achieving its vision to “create a society that values all people”.

Our Mission

Vancouver Island Mental Health Society (VIMHS) is a charitable Vancouver Island based organization, demonstrating excellence in psychosocial rehabilitation for adults with mental health and addictions concerns, and/or cognitive challenges. We engage communities through programs that promote recovery, social inclusion, safe housing, and public education.

Our Vision

VIMHS’s intent is to encourage a society that values and supports all people, including those experiencing psychiatric, addiction, and cognitive challenges through thoughtful, community-driven leadership. Our resources are dedicated to:

Incorporating contemporary knowledge and best practices in the delivery of mental health and addictions programs.

Fostering dialogue among local communities to generate responses to emergent and ongoing social challenges.

VIMHS is driven by its core values to provide quality care, support and education to residents and community it serves. VIMHS values: acceptance; community; excellence; integrity; respect for all; and stability.

Our Funding

VIMHS is grateful for the ongoing financial support from the following organizations:

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