Recommendations to improve child and youth mental health must be implemented in B.C. | National Union of Public and General Employees

Recommendations to improve child and youth mental health must be implemented in B.C.

“There has been a series of reports since 2003 highlighting the critical need to improve mental health services for children and youth in B.C. It’s well past time to take action.” — Val Avery, HSABC President

Vancouver (01 Feb. 2016) — The 23 recommendations made by the B.C. legislature’s Committee on Children and Youth are critical to addressing the current crisis in mental health services for children and youth, says the Health Science Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE).

Committee recommendations support increased resources for child and youth mental health services

HSABC/NUPGE represents health professionals working in mental health and addictions in acute and community health care settings throughout the province. Members include child and youth mental health support workers, psychologists, counselors, social workers, early childhood education specialists, registered psychiatric nurses and many other health professionals who work in the field.

“HSABC/NUPGE members who support children and youth with mental health disorders constantly tell us of the lack of resources and gaps in services, and the tragic impact this has on their patients and clients,” says HSABC President Val Avery.  “Children and their families are left struggling to navigate a complex and fragmented system at a time when many of them are in crisis.”

HSABC/NUPGE submitted a report to the committee that included input from members working in the sector.  “We’re pleased to see that the committee report reflects the reality our members deal with while trying to support their patients and clients, and that the committee’s recommendations address many of their concerns,” says Avery.

Focus on early intervention, prioritize children and youth, ensure proper staffing

HSABC/NUPGE supports committee recommendations such as a new Ministry for Mental Health and a “one child, one file” approach, in order to improve integration and coordination of services that are currently provided through several different ministries and agencies.

Focusing on early intervention, giving priority to children, youth and young adults with special needs, and ensuring there are enough health professionals, such as child and adolescent psychologists and registered psychiatric nurses, are also key recommendations from the committee that must be implemented.

“There have been a series of reports since 2003 highlighting the critical need to improve mental health services for children and youth in B.C.,” says Avery. “It’s well past time to take action.”

NUPGE 

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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