CYMHSU Collaborative

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, Indigenous 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 – a structure 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

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

FACT SHEET - CYMHSU Collaborative

E-BLAST Newsletter - Jan/Feb, 2016

Bi-Annual Update - January 2016

Learning Session 7 Resources

Learning Session 7 Report - NEW

Learning Session 7 Photos - NEW

Storyboard Program - NEW

Summary of Break-Out Sessions - NEW

Bear Den Discussion List - NEW

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


Valerie Tregillus
Project Director, CYMHSU Collaborative