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Celebrating National Child and Youth Mental Health Day

Celebrating National Child and Youth Mental Health Day

May 7, 2024
Category: General 

May 7 is National Child & Youth Mental Health Day in British Columbia. A day to highlight the fundamental importance of building caring connections and supportive conversations between young people and the adults in their lives.


Did you know that CSFS has a Child and Youth Mental Health program?


The program (CYMH) provides a wide range of free and voluntary mental health services to children and youth under the age of 19 and their families. While services are typically provided to children between 6 and 18, we provide support to children under the age of 6 with their caregiver actively involved. Our mental health services are designed to support children and youth who experience significant difficulties with their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Our services are client and family-centered, trauma-informed, and collaborative.

We know that childhood and adolescence are crucial stages of development. Prioritizing positive mental health during these formative years sets the foundation for overall well-being, leading to better emotional regulation, coping skills, and positive relationships in adulthood.

“The goal of Child and Youth Mental Health is to provide culturally responsive mental health services to children, youth, and families, and by extension to communities. We prioritize collaboration and connection with other service providers to be able to provide the most comprehensive support to children and young people,” shares Catherine Weilmeier, CSFS CYMH Clinical Supervisor.

The CYMH program follows the ‘every door is the right door’ policy, meaning children or youth can access support and assistance regardless of where they initially seek help. Our caring, professional clinical team includes Mental Health Clinicians and Mental Health Support Workers. The team has training in trauma-informed approaches (including intergenerational trauma and complex trauma), sand tray and play therapy, suicide risk assessment and safety planning, infant mental health, emotion-focused family therapy, and dialectical behaviour therapy. Some clinicians are also trained in early psychosis intervention, art therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and trauma-sensitive yoga to name a few. Individuals who choose to access our services can do so at no cost. By reducing barriers to access, young people can receive early intervention and support, which is essential for mitigating the long-term impact of mental health challenges.

The CYMH program offers individual, group and family work along with mental health consultation provided to community. Our services are provided in the office, in community and, most often, in the school setting during the school year. Some of our recent group offerings have included Mental Health Outdoors, emotion coaching for caregivers of children 12 and under, and grief and loss family groups. Plans are in the works to provide additional groups including dialectical behaviour therapy, mindfulness, and trauma-sensitive yoga.

“We welcome self-referrals and community referrals with informed consent from the child or youth seeking help. For referrals under the age of 12, we will need parental or guardian consent and hope for their active involvement in the therapeutic process. For referrals for ages 12 and up, we need the youth’s consent. While we do encourage and appreciate parental/guardian involvement in the therapeutic process with young people, youth do have the option of attending on their own,” Catherine continues.

“When children and youth face obstacles in seeking help, it can be stigmatizing. They may feel ashamed or reluctant to disclose their struggles. Sometimes the youth aren’t ready to commit to therapy yet, so they can choose to start their journey by accessing one of our drop-in sessions at the high schools in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James. We collaborate with Connexus Community Resources to provide this service on alternating weeks. The CYMH Virtual Counselling Program also provides virtual mental health services (individual and group) which increases accessibility to timely services. We recently participated in the launch of the Atsoo Program and look forward to continued connection going forward as we work together to support children, youth, families, and community.”

If you would like to access any of our services, please visit the Mental Health and Wellness Services webpage, download the referral form, and submit the completed form to the confidential fax line listed on the referral. For those who would like to self-refer, you can also contact the Burns Lake office at 250-692-2387 and we would be happy to help you complete the referral and answer any questions you might have about our services.




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Last modified: Wednesday 03-Apr-24 12:36:28 PDT