Next Steps, in support of child and youth mental health and substance abuse

A second “Next Steps” meeting was held in support of child and youth mental health and substance use on Nov. 4 in Fort St. James.

  • Nov. 25, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

A second “Next Steps” meeting was held in support of child and youth mental health and substance use on Nov. 4 in Fort St. James.

A local action team has been developed and includes various community members who are working towards finding ways to better support child and youth mental health and substance abuse.

Relationship-building and finding suitable solutions are the focus as the team will continue to work through all the challenges within the community so that proper care can be delivered.

This initiative is developed in support of child and youth mental health in B.C. Health care professionals are committed to providing timely access to support services for children and youth affected by mental health and substance abuse through funding one of the largest initiatives of its kind called the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Abuse Use Collaborative.

According to Kristina Nielsen, practice support program coach with Northern Health in Fort St. James, it’s a big issue that is difficult to tackle in rural communities due to limited services.

But, ideas are being put forward and support is evident. Fort St. James is one of 12 local action teams in the north and the community is moving forward with this collaborative.

“We are now discussing the gaps in community services. The meeting was positive. It allowed us to brainstorm and come up with ideas,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen says that it’s a building process that involves a priority, a goal and an objective. “Gaps and themes were discussed. We had a diverse group of 13 attend. We are moving forward and it’s a step in the right direction.”

Community agencies are committed to the initiative. “The community has shown that this is a priority for them and that there is substantial interest to deal with these issues,” Nielsen said.