Our CEO & President, Keli Anderson, took a call from Val Tregillus, Project Director, CYMHSU Collaborative, while on vacation in early July 2013. Val Tregillus spoke about the new Child & Youth Mental Health Collaborative (‘the Collaborative’) that started in the Interior Region of BC, with leadership from the Doctors of BC. She also shared that their purpose was to “increase the number of children, youth and their families receiving timely access to integrated mental health and substance use services and supports throughout the province.” She was calling Keli because The Collaborative wanted to ensure that youth and families were engaged to be involved at the centre of their work and she invited our organization to assist The Collaborative with engagement.
Since the summer of 2013, The Collaborative has grown from 8 Local Action Teams (LAT’s) in the Interior Health region to 64 Local Action Teams throughout all 5 Health regions in BC. The one purpose of The Collaborative has also changed with the addition of a second purpose; “To document examples and results of the involvement of children, youth and families in decision making and policy development.” The number of youth and families engaged in The Collaborative also grew; beginning with 10, it is now over 250.
We have learned a lot over the 4 years of The Collaborative and value the efforts of so many to improve child and youth mental health and include families.