Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health in BC
Doctors of BC and the BC government are committed to increasing timely access to support and services for child and youth mental health and substance in BC through funding and stewardship of one of the largest initiatives of its kind - the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative.
CYMHSU Collaborative Overview
Based on a model used worldwide as a method of rapid continuous quality improvement in healthcare, the CYMHSU Collaborative first started in the Interior Health region in June 2013 with eight Local Action Teams. Since then, the Collaborative has grown province-wide and now includes the involvement of more than 2,000 people with 64 established Local Action Teams and 11 Working Groups all working towards the common goal of improving the lives of children, youth and families struggling with mental health and substance use issues.
Relationship-building and practical, sustainable solutions are the focus of the Collaborative’s Local Action Teams and Working Groups as they address communication barriers, service delivery gaps, and coordination of care both locally and system-wide. Seven health authorities, three ministries (MoH, MCFD and MEd), hundreds of physicians, and numerous community partners such as police, school districts, community agencies, Aboriginal groups, and others, are now committed to this initiative. Youth and parents are embedded in every Local Action Team and have assumed leadership roles in every area of the Collaborative.
Local Action Teams
Areas with Local Action Teams are listed below. Click those with a link to see details of who’s involved in your community, their objectives, and how they’re planning to measure success.
Interior: Ashcroft, Boundary, Cariboo, Central Okanagan, Clearwater, Creston, Golden, Kimberley/Cranbrook, Lillooet, Lytton, Merritt, North Okanagan, Oliver/Osoyoos/Okanagan Falls, Revelstoke, Shuswap, South Okanagan, Thompson, West Kootenay
Vancouver Island: Campbell River, Comox, Cowichan, Gabriola/Gulf Islands, Long Beach, Mount Waddington, Nanaimo, Oceanside/Parksville, Port Alberni, Saanich Peninsula, Salt Spring Island, Sooke/West Shore, Victoria
Vancouver Coastal: Bella Coola, North Shore, Pemberton, Sea-to-Sky, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver
Northern: Burns Lake, Dawson Creek, Ft. St. James, Fraser Lake, Haida Gwaii North, Haida Gwaii South, Hazelton, Kitimat, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, Smithers, Terrace, Valemount, Vanderhoof
- Children, youth and their families are actively involved in all aspects of the Collaborative, through The FORCE Society.
- Local Action Teams include a diverse cross-section of mental health and substance-use service providers, stakeholders, and youth and families, who concentrate on activities at the local level.
- Working Groups tackle provincial systems barriers identified by Local Action Teams, sponsors, funders, the Steering Committee and Clinical Faculty.
Funding and administrative support for the Collaborative is provided by the Shared Care Committee in partnership with the General Practice Services, Specialist Services and the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues – all are Joint Collaborative Committees of Doctors of BC (formerly the BC Medical Association) and the BC government. The structure is unprecedented in Canada. The Committees are funded through the Physician Master Agreement and work closely together, but each have their own distinct mandates and initiatives to improve the patient and provider experience and efficiency of the health care system.
Resources and Helpful Links
Helping students cope with stress, anxiety and depression
Recent Canadian research shows that 1 in 3 students in grades 7 – 12 are reporting moderate to severe levels of psychological distress, particularly anxiety and depression.
We know that certain levels of stress and anxiety are normal, but how does a youth or parent gauge what is normal or when to seek help before a crisis occurs?
Helpful Resource for schools and partners
Four posters have been produced by the CYMHSU Collaborative with the support of the BC School Superintendents Association. The posters share information about common signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, simple strategies that can help, and resources for youth and parents to access for support.
The posters are legal size, 8.5 x 14. You can view, download and print the posters here.
Eating Disorder Video Modules
A series of CME accredited video modules presented by a team of Eating Disorders experts from BC Children's Hospital, are now available for anyone caring for children, youth and their families struggling with this serious mental health concern.
The goal of the modules is to share the expertise of the team across the province for a consistent approach to diagnosis, treatment and management of eating disorders by health providers, clinicians, school personnel, youth and families and others.
The series is introduced with a personal story shared by youth, Rylee McKinley, and her mother Terri, on their family's journey with anorexia.
Please note, these modules are CME accredited, under self-directed learning provisions. You can access the modules here
CYMHSU Collaborative Overview
The narrated presentation below provides a comprehensive overview of how the Collaborative started, who's involved, objectives and achievements, and how to initiate your own community activities.
The following case studies were developed to help provide provincial, national and international knowledge exchange regarding the Collaborative, and its many transformational change initiatives.
In-depth versions of the following 2-pagers are available upon request from Nikita Soares at email@example.com.
Learning Session 7 Resources
The integrated care approach
Watch this short video to see how the team approach
is benefitting youth and care providers
Child and Youth Mental Health Columns by Dr David Smith
Dr. David Smith, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, and the medical director of the Okanagan Psychiatric services for Interior Health, has written a series of columns with information on how and when to access services for common child and youth mental health and substance use issues.
This series is a project of the Collaborative and includes articles on depression, anxiety, schizaphrenia and bipolar disorder. You can read all the articles here
Project Director, CYMHSU Collaborative