CYMHSU Collaborative

Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health in BC

CYMHSU Collaborative Overview

From 2013 to December 2017, Doctors of BC and the BC government were committed to increasing timely access to support and services for child and youth mental health and substance in BC through funding and stewardship of the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative.

The CYMHSU Collaborative first started in the Interior Health region in June 2013 with eight Local Action Teams, and by the end of the initiative, had grown province-wide to include the involvement of more than 2,600 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 were 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, were committed to this initiative. Youth and parents were embedded in every Local Action Team and assumed leadership roles in every area of the Collaborative.


Funding and administrative support for the Collaborative was 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 representing a partnership of Doctors of BC (formerly the BC Medical Association) and the BC government.

Local Action Teams

Local Action Teams were located in the following areas. Many are still operating in some capacity today. 

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

Fraser: Abbotsford, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Delta, Fraser Cascades, Langley, Mission, New Westminster, Ridge Meadows, Surrey/N. Delta, Tri-Cities, White Rock/South Surrey

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


Legacies of the CYMHSU Collaborative


Adverse Childhood Experiences Summit: BC & Beyond

On November 14th & 15th, over 600 people attended the ACEs Summit at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver. Over the last four years, ACEs awareness and understanding has grown in BC in large part through the work of the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative. This Summit is a just one of the legacies of this work, recognizing that action across all sectors is needed to address ACEs with improved policies and practices.

ACEs Consensus Statement

At the ACEs Summit many leaders gathered together with Dr. Vincent Felitti to identify how B.C. can collectively prevent and mitigate the impact of ACEs over lifetimes. The result is a co-developed ACEs Consensus Statement: To Build Better Lives We Need to Build Better Brains. The statement was developed to signify the commitment of many to focus on these common goals moving forward. 

Summit Materials

ACEs Summit Report

Poster Presentations Brochure

Presentations from ACEs Summit - Collaborative Toolbox

For your convenience, we've compiled many of the presentations from the ACEs Summit in one folder on the Collaborative Toolbox here.  We've also included a number of other ACEs resources, including links to ACEs training and research. The Collaborative Toolbox provides a one-stop-shop for many of the tools and resources created and utlized by the 2,600 members of the Collaborative. 

GPs, Specialists & partners inaugural Community of Practice Meeting

As the CYMHSU wraps up activities in the coming months, physicians identified the need for GPs and specialists caring for children and youth with MHSU issues, to continue to influence and drive improvements for CYMHSU. Physicians, GPs and Specialists,  who had been involved in the Collaborative's work, signed up and encouraged colleagues beyond the Collaborative to get involved, resulting in a total of 145 physicians joining a new CYMHSU Community of Practice. For a breakdown of those involved, and details of their inaugural meeting on September 29, 2017, view this short summary here

Legacy Congress Resources

BC Medical Journal Article: Congress Wraps up CYMHSU Collaborative

Congress Summary: Numbers and feedback infographic

Storyboards & Breakouts Brochure


The Collaborative released two ‘legacy’ items to encourage spread of successful community strategies, many developed since 2013 by Local Action Teams and Working Groups of the CYMHSU Collaborative. Building on the ‘all learn, all share’ approach of Learning Sessions, these 'Legacy' items can provide ideas, tools and resources to help Local Action Teams achieve their objectives, as well as inform activites of community partners and stakeholders working in the area of CYMHSU. Read more here



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 were 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.




Resource Documents

Case Studies

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

Case Study 1 - Structure and Change Model of the CYMHSU Collaborative

Case Study 3 - Eating Disorders

FACT SHEET - CYMHSU Collaborative

E-BLAST Newsletter - Feb, 2017

E-BLAST Newsletter - May/June, 2016

E-BLAST Newsletter - Jan/Feb, 2016

Bi-Annual Update - September 2016

Bi-Annual Update - January 2016

Legacy Congress Resources

BC Medical Journal Article: Congress Wraps up CYMHSU Collaborative

Congress Summary: Numbers and feedback infographic

Congress Agenda

Storyboards & Breakouts Brochure

Learning Session 8 Resources

Learning Session 8 Summary Report

Learning Session 8 Agenda

Storyboard Program

Bear Den Topics

Recommendations from Youth and Family Evaluation Team

Bi-Annual Update - September 2016


Learning Session 7 Resources

Learning Session 7 Report

Learning Session 7 Photos

Storyboard Program

Summary of Break-Out Sessions

Bear Den Discussion List

Charter - Learning Session 7


The integrated care approach

Watch this short video to see how the team approach
is benefitting youth and care providers