Lack of mental health services for Haida Gwaii children sparks community session

  • Sep. 23, 2015 9:00 a.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverThe need for more mental health workers for the children and youth of Haida Gwaii must be addressed.Verena Gibbs, principal for Port Clements Elementary is reaching out to find a solution for the lack of mental health workers on Haida Gwaii for children. “Based on my observations, the need on-island, particularly the north end, exceeds the amount of support available,” Ms. Gibbs said.Ms. Gibbs wrote a letter to the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD) urging the ministry to fill the gap in mental health services for Haida Gwaii youth earlier in the summer. Ms. Gibbs said there has been a gap in mental health services available to children and youth, since the last worker resigned due to heavy workload. Shortly after Ms. Gibbs’ plea, the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative took up the challenge and will be hosting a community session to come up with some answers.The CYMHSU director Val Tregillus will be on hand at the event, Sept. 14, to help Haida Gwaii find health workers for children and youth.CYMHSU  is a provincial initiative aiming to increase the number of children and families receiving timely access to integrated mental health and substance use service. The purpose of the collaboration is to engage children, youth and their families, Aboriginal peoples, physicians, provincial ministries (Health, Children and Family Development and Education), health authorities, schools and communities to increase the number of children, youth and their families receiving timely access to integrated mental health and substance abuse use services and supports throughout the province. The idea behind the program is to involve youth and families in decisions related to program and system design, clinical practice and policy development, which manifest the “Family-first, people-centred” goals of Healthy Minds, Healthy People and their families. The CYMHS Collaboration supports the formation of community-led Local Action Teams to identify gaps in care and development solutions for children and youth with mental health and substance challenges. The Local Action Team of the CYMHS Collaborative are mechanisms to bring community partners together to share information and knowledge, in order to make positive system changes locally, regionally and provincially.

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