Students in the Comox Valley School District will have a clearer, easier-to-understand path to mental health and substance use services.
A “one-care plan” approach is a new service delivery model being introduced in the school district.
Integrated teams will work closely with school and team-based primary care and specialized services providers to offer wraparound care to children, youth and their families. This means individuals experiencing mental health and substance use challenges and their families will no longer need to retell their stories to different care providers or search on their own for the supports they need.
“For far too long, families have had to knock on door after door to get the help they need for their children,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “These integrated child and youth teams will make it so much easier to connect young people to the help they need, where and when they need it.”
The Comox Valley School District was selected as the location for the second integrated child and youth team, because of its strong relationships throughout the community supporting the mental health of students. The district also has proactive measures already in place. These measures include:
- developing a district mental-health plan;
- including mental-health wellness as part of its strategic plan;
- training school teams in the mental-health curriculum;
- teaching mental-health literacy at the high school level;
- establishing a school-based wellness centre; and
- working closely with community partners on all initiatives that support vulnerable youth.
“It’s crucial we support wellness and mental health in schools, so kids can focus on reaching their full potential,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “As teams are put in place in more school districts throughout B.C., students and families will have more accessible, integrated mental-health supports in their schools and in their communities.”
Additional integrated child and youth teams, which were introduced as part of the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions’ A Pathway to Hope roadmap for better mental health and addictions care, will be established in three more school districts over the next two years. The first team, in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, was announced in July 2019.
Integrated service delivery teams will be formed in the Comox Valley School District in December 2019. Implementation will follow and new positions will be determined based on service delivery gaps identified in the area.
The Province will also be providing teachers and school counsellors with more resources to help them identify students who need supports earlier, before small problems become more serious.
The integrated service delivery model is an evidence-based approach that has resulted in:
- positive growth and development of children and youth;
- reduced wait times for services for children, youth and families; and
- increased school engagement and academic success.
Implementing A Pathway to Hope is a shared priority with the BC Green Caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development —
“Children who are struggling early on need care that is easy to access. I know the importance of this integration of our child and youth mental health teams with parents, educators and other professionals. It means that kids will get the supports they need early to build a solid foundation they can rely on throughout their lives.”
Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox —
“This is wonderful news for students, parents and educators in our district. We’ve seen a tremendous increase in enrolment over the past few years so added supports — especially in the areas of mental health and overall wellness for students — could not have come at a better time.”
Tom Demeo, superintendent of Schools, Comox Valley School District —
“We are extremely fortunate to be part of this great initiative. Student mental health is one of our district’s strategic focuses and through this partnership, we will be able to work collaboratively with our community partners to provide our students with resources that will strengthen and improve their mental health.”
To read A Pathway to Hope, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf
For information on School District #71: Comox Valley, visit: https://www.comoxvalleyschools.ca/
A backgrounder follows.