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Richmond schools to receive provincially-funded mental health support teams

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 3:33 PDT, Wed September 2, 2020

Richmond students will soon benefit from increased mental health and substance use care through school-based support teams.

“For too long, young people and their families have had to knock on one door after another to access the mental health and substance use services they need,” said BC’s Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy. “These integrated child and youth teams will ensure help is available when and where it’s needed, so that children and youth are able to not just survive—but thrive.”

Integrated child and youth teams work to fill gaps in the current system of mental health and substance use care. They use an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach and focus on culturally safe practices. A young person in need will receive services and supports tailored to their unique situation, delivered by a team of experts. 

Team members may include school counsellors, youth substance use workers, child and youth mental health clinicians from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Elders and Indigenous support workers, primary care clinicians and psychologists, as well as family and peer support workers. The team works in a continuous, interconnected way to deliver wraparound support for children, youth and their families.

Teams are built to be flexible and inclusive to make sure anyone who is 18 or younger can access help as soon as they need it through a variety of ways, including self-referral, schools, primary care, community organizations and Foundry centres, First Nations and health authorities, along with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Richmond, Coast Mountains and Okanagan-Similkameen join Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and the Comox Valley, bringing the total number of school districts with integrated child and youth teams to five since they were first introduced in July 2019. Funding for the teams is part of the province’s $74-million investment over three years announced in Budget 2019 to support mental health initiatives for children and youth. It is estimated to take up to one year for programs to get up and running.

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