Additional supports for mental health and substance use will be available to children and families in the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district.
B.C.’s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions announced Thursday, Feb. 2, that the province would be expanding Integrated Child and Youth (ICY) teams to seven additional school districts, including School District 83.
The new teams will connect children, young people and families to counselling, peer and cultural supports, meeting young people where they feel most comfortable: in schools, homes or community settings, the ministry explained in a media release.
“This is very exciting news for our school district,” said SD83 superintendent Donna Kriger in a school district media release. “This team will provide earlier, more accessible and integrated mental health services for youth in our district, and that is good news.”
Team members may include clinical counsellors connected to schools, youth substance-use clinicians, child and youth mental-health clinicians, Indigenous Elders or workers supporting Indigenous children and youth, as well as family and youth peer supports. Members of these multi-disciplinary teams work together to provide a range of supports, including assessment and screening, consultation and therapeutic services to children up to 19 years old.
“When a child or youth is struggling with their mental health and with substance use, we know how vital it is to provide them with the supports they need,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This is why our government is working together with integrated teams in seven more school districts across our province, to bring even more services to youth where they feel most comfortable: in schools, homes or community settings.”
The Province has committed funding to implement teams in 20 school districts by 2024 to be fully operational by 2025.
SD83 board chair Marianne VanBuskirk said the board is grateful for this commitment to assist students and families.
“Integrated Child and Youth teams will allow students and their families to access services at locations (ie schools, homes, community settings) where students feel safe and comfortable,” said VanBuskirk.
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