Thursday May 12, 2016
Getting Youths Talking
CYHC helps improve access to health services
Asma Farooq, Fraser Health Authority
n April, the School District #33 Board of Education and Executive warmly welcomed a delegation that highlighted the early success of the Chilliwack Youth Health Centre (CYHC).
Dr. Melanie Madill, local family physician, Nathan Ngieng, District Principal, Student Services, Chilliwack School District #33 and Dan Bibby, Community Manager, Ministry of Child and Family Development formed this delegation that represented key partnerships between health care, school district, government and various community-based organizations. Noting appreciation for the innovative and dedicated teamwork that is moving this project forward, the Board spoke highly of the collaborative partnerships that have enabled this delivery of services, and the significant early impact the CYHC is having on Chilliwack’s youth.
Why do we need the CYHC?
Dr. Madill, the Lead Physician of the CYHC notes, "We all need to talk sometimes. And sometimes it's about things like depression, anxiety, addiction, or psychosis. Our goal is to start the conversation and challenge youth to begin where you are with the person next to you." Recent, robust research suggests that a health centre targeted towards youth, that offers a holistic range of services in one location is needed in our community. Some of this evidence comes from the McCreary Report, 2012, grades 7-12, which notes:
• 12% youth who thought they needed medical care did not or were unable to access services
• 16% of youth reported a mental health condition, and of that 61% didn’t access emotional or mental health services because they didn’t want their parents to know
What does the CYHC do?
Aiming to reduce barriers to accessing care for medical and mental health for youth and young adults, the CYHC offers free, confidential services to youth on a drop-in basis. Gathering around this common vision, the partners behind the CYHC have not only rallied to get the Centre up and running, but are now focusing on planning for sustainability and continued success.
Dan Bibby comments, "This truly is the result of partnership with various stakeholders, including but not limited to, the Chilliwack Division, MCFD, Fraser Health, the School District and local service providers in healthcare and social services." These services are available at two locations: the Neighbourhood Learning Centre (NLC), next door to Chilliwack Senior Secondary, since January 2015, and at the Sto:lo Wellness Centre, since April 2015. Anyone aged 12 to 26 years can visit either site to receive physical and mental health care delivered by trained counselling staff and family doctors that are available at both sites. Additionally specialist services are available with a pediatrician at the NLC and a psychiatrist at Sto:lo.
Upcoming Mental Health Awareness event, Beneath the Surface Play: Inspired by the truth faced by a First Nations teen in East Vancouver, this performance addresses the realities faced by youth, both Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal. This theatre production touches on many relevant and poignant topics, such as gender identity, bullying, substance abuse, mental health, depression and suicide. It also educates and informs youth of Canadian History and Reconciliation.
This event welcomes all community members from Chilliwack to Boston Bar. Age recommendation: 12+ with parental discretion.
Over the course of Mental Health Awareness Week, several public community events in Chilliwack have raised funds over $2500 for the Chilliwack Youth Health Centre (CYHC).
CYHC's profile has also been raised by a delegation presenting to the School District #33 Board of Education and Executive to highlight the early success of the Chilliwack Youth Health Centre. Speaking to the CYHC's role in our community, recent, robust research suggests that a health center targeted towards youth, that offers a holistic range of services in one location is needed in our community. Some of this evidence comes from the McCreary Report, 2012, grades 7-12, which notes:
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