It takes a village

This fall, a number of community events brought together parents, youth, school personnel, health care providers, and many other community partners, to learn how to support children, youth and families struggling with mental health and substance use issues.

Organized by Local Action Teams of the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative, many of these events were held in response to community MHSU concerns, and requests for more information on how to recognize early signs and symptoms before they reach crisis point.

The Collaborative involves over 1,800 individuals from various organizations and ministries all working together to increase the number of children, youth, and their families receiving timely access to mental health and substance use services in BC. The Collaborative is the largest of the Shared Care Committee's initiatives.

White Rock South Surrey Local Action Team
PSYCH.ed Speaker Series


Breaking the Silence on Suicide – Let’s Talk about Prevention

This event, requested after a number of tragic youth suicides in the community, was attended by 68 local youth, parents, school personnel, and community partners.Two youth shared their powerful stories and Dr Carol-Ann Saari, child psychiatrist and President of the BC Psychiatry Association, David Lindskoog from SPEAC (Suicide Prevention, Education and Counselling), shared their knowledge and expertise on different aspects of suicide prevention.

Youth Stress and Anxiety

Over 200 community members, ranging from students to parents to care providers, attended the Anxiety event at White Rock Elementary. Four presenters discussed self-help techniques, tips for parents and available resources. One of the presenters, Ashley, a youth determined to reduce stigma around mental health, shared her difficult story at the event and in her local newspaper. You can read it here

Care in the Community

An event initiated by a local school, presented speakers and the full spectrum of community CYMH and substance use resources available to local youth and families. The school has been witnessing an increasing number of students and families dealing with mental health issues over the last two years.

More events are planned as part of the White Rock/South Surrey Local Action Team PSYCH.ed series.

For more information contact Kay Abelson

Vernon Local Action Team Anxiety Forum

Concerned parents attended a forum in Vernon in October looking for information and support for their children with anxiety. We were amazed by the strong turnout,” said Dave Mackenzie, a Vernon high school counsellor and one of the organizers of the evening event that drew more than 350 people from the area. “It shows that so many people in this community are concerned about anxiety and their children and want more information.” Speakers featured six local experts, including a parent with lived experience with both her own struggles with anxiety and with an anxious child. Information booths also provided information about local resources and supports.

Fostering a community of early intervention in the Cariboo

The Cariboo Local Action Team hosted two events with guest speaker Evelyn Wotherspoon – a social worker who has devoted her career to high-risk children and families. The events aimed to raise awareness of the importance of early intervention in mental health issues. Read more here

More information on the CYMHSU Collaborative can be found here