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New support for young adults with serious mental health and substance use issues

Vernon Morning Star - 5/7/2019

Interior Health has launched a new service to help remove barriers and bridge gaps in mental health and substance use treatment for young people in Kamloops and Kelowna.

"Children and youth living in the Interior now have access to quality wraparound mental health and addictions services when they need them and where they need them," said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy.

"These new teams will help young people and their families find the appropriate supports so they can begin to walk their own pathways to healing and hope."

Intensive Case Management teams are one aspect of the continuum of care – the goal is to provide collaborative, wrap-around services and create a seamless journey for youth.

"Young people and their families have told us they have faced difficulties accessing treatment. To help address these challenges, we have now established these targeted, multidisciplinary teams in our two largest communities," said Interior Health board chair Doug Cochrane.

The Intensive Case Management teams support young people under the age of 24 who:

  • · Have had difficulty accessing support programs and treatment;
  • · Require intensive outreach and support;
  • · Are unable to engage in traditional substance use and mental health services;
  • · Have significant substance use issues with possible co-existing mental health diagnosis and functional impairment;
  • · Have had difficulty transitioning to the adult system of care.

The inter-professional, collaborative Intensive Case Management team approach includes access to psychiatrists as well as registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, counsellors, and life skills workers.

These teams also provide supports for families, recognizing this is an important aspect of client care.

The Intensive Case Management teams in Kelowna and Kamloops are part of a relatively new provincial model that also includes teams in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.

Tuesday, May 7, marks National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to creating awareness about the mental health needs of thousands of young people across the country.