CYMHSU Collaborative

Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health in BC


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

ACEs Summit Agenda

Poster Presentations Brochure

This brochure contains short descriptions and contact details for all 52 posters demonstrating the wide array of ACEs-related activities underway in BC, Alberta, Ontario, Florida and California. Take a look to see which presenters you'd like to connect with during the poster session. 

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

If you're interested in getting involved, please contact Nikita Soares at


Legacy Congress Resources

BC Medical Journal Article: Congress Wraps up CYMHSU Collaborative

Congress Summary: Numbers and feedback infographic

Storyboards & Breakouts Brochure

New Resources

The Collaborative has 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



CYMHSU Collaborative Overview

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.

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 2,600 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 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

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

  • 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.



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




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, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. You can read all the articles here


Valerie Tregillus
Project Director, CYMHSU Collaborative