The annual Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Community of Practice meeting was held in Vancouver on March 6, 2020. This was attended about 75 physicians including Child Psychiatrists, Pediatricians, Family Doctors and Emergency Room Doctors, along with the President of the Doctors of BC, various government leaders including senior analysts from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and Ministry of Child and Family Development and the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions (see photo above).
It was an outstanding day featuring a presentation by Mr. Nick Grant, Assistant Deputy Minister of Mental Health and Addictions talking about the ministry’s vision laid out recently in its 10 year Pathway of Hope plan for improving Mental Health and Addictions services in BC with an emphasis on Prevention, Promotion and Early Interventions. He also focused particularly on their 3 year immediate goals with targeting improving access and quality of care, improved services for Children, Youth and Young Adults, improved services for Indigenous Populations and improved Substance Use services. He particularly focused on several targeted efforts for Child and Youth MHSU service improvements including expanding the current number of Foundarys (one stop centres for childreh and youth and their families with mild to moderate MHSU issues including services for primary care, mental health and addictions individual and group counselling, psychiatric services, social services, peer youth and family support, etc.) from 11 currently across the province to 19 in the near future and the development of an initial pilot of 5 Integrated Child and Youth wrap around MHSU teams in 5 school districts across BC for children, youth and their families with more severe MHSU issues. Additionally, they are focused on Step Up/Step Down programs, MHSU services in schools, improved MHSU Perinatal services, etc. (see attached COP Meeting Agenda and Mr. Nick Grant’s PowerPoint Presentation).
Further participants had the opportunity to have 3 major break-out sessions during the day to update the COP and further develop plans and strategies related to our three on-going monthly provincial teleconference working groups in the areas of 1. Improving and integrating ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) screening and care into primary care and other areas of medicine, 2. improving substance use services for children, youth and their families and 3. improving crisis response services in this population. The wrap up exercise of the day particularly brainstormed and targeted in on how we can work to integrate CYMHSU screening, early interventions and resources into the provincial mandate for the development of Primary Care Homes and Primary Care Networks across the province.
Finally and in keeping with our current state, please find attached a copy (click here) of an information brief put together by our CYMHSU COP to assist parents in helping their children deal with the inevitable stress and anxiety of the current COVID crisis, which has been distributed broadly across the province.