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Qualicum School District to hire new staff for Integrated Child and Youth team

Teams will address youth from up to the age of 19, helping them and families get access to services
The Board of Education for Qualicum School District met on May 28.

Qualicum School District will be able to hire additional staff to work as part of the recently announced Integrated Child and Youth (ICY) team.

The teams bring together systems and people dedicated to supporting youth into one group, as part of the B.C. government initiative designed to connect children, youth and families to mental-health and addiction services.

"What it means for our district in terms of what our role is, obviously we sit at that particular table, but we also get to hire two staff that will belong to the school district staff," said Gillian Wilson, associate superintendent of schools during the Board of Education's May 28 meeting. "One person is a clinical counsellor who’s a supervisor and the other person is a peer support person, whom has got lived experiences in one of those particular areas that they’re targeting and looking at."

The teams will address youth up to the age of 19, helping them and their families get access to services such as clinical counsellors, healthcare staff and school district staff. By having a single point of entry, children and youth will not have to retell their story and potentially become re-traumatized.

“It’s a complex situation, where our community has been recognized as needing some support alongside other communities in the province," Wilson said. "It purely is an outreach program and there’s lots of collaboration, lots of integration in how we do our work together so we’ve not got families and youth and children sitting on wait lists."

Wilson added that research was conducted around community needs in 2019 through Pathway to Hope funding that recognized there was a need in the area with regards to children, youth and families being "disconnected".

"They felt it was at a crisis point," Wilson said. "They felt that there’s not enough services in particular communities and there’s some barriers to access in communities. And so they’ve developed through the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, who holds a big umbrella, a partnership with the Ministry of Family, the health authorities, the different regions for the health authorities and school districts."

The local team then hires positions based on gaps and support and services that are needed, she added.

There is a need in the Qualicum School District, Wilson said, since the community does not have a hospital or a foundry centre, which provides health-care services such as primary care, counselling, early intervention, prevention and addictions supports — and Oceanside Health Centre is not open 24 hours.

“We’re excited about it, but there’s lots we have to learn and lots that’s going to come about which we’ll keep you updated on,” she said.

The province said, in an April news release, that an estimated 75 per cent of serious mental health issues emerge before the age of 25. Drug toxicity is currently the leading cause of death for people between ages 15 years old and 18 years old in B.C., with suicide as the second leading cause, according to the provincial news release.












Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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