Integrated Child and Youth teams coming to SD83

Integrated Child and Youth teams coming to SD83

More children, youth and families will benefit from seamless mental-health and substance-use services as B.C. expands Integrated Child and Youth (ICY) teams to seven additional school districts, including School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap).

“The Board of Education of School District 83, North Okanagan-Shuswap, would like to express its appreciation to the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and other Ministries who have committed to assist students and families by bringing together supports from schools, community, the healthcare system, government agencies, clinical counsellors, Indigenous elders and support workers, substance-use clinicians, youth mental health clinicians, and family or peer support workers,” states SD83 Board Chair Marianne VanBuskirk. “Integrated Child and Youth teams will allow students and their families to access services at locations (i.e. schools, homes, community settings) where students feel safe and comfortable.” 

“This is very exciting news for our school district,” comments Superintendent of Schools Donna Kriger. “This team will provide earlier, more accessible and integrated mental health services for youth in our district, and that is good news.”

The new multidisciplinary teams are being added in Fraser-Cascade, Kootenay-Columbia, Mission, Nanaimo-Ladysmith, North Okanagan-Shuswap, Pacific Rim, and Powell River school districts. It was jointly announced by Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jennifer Whiteside and Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean.

“Integrated Child and Youth teams make it easier for young people and their families to connect to the care they need, where and when they need it,” said Whiteside. “Integrated Child and Youth teams fill gaps and better co-ordinate mental health, wellness and substance-use care in schools and in the community, making it easier for families to access the help their child needs.”

“When a child or youth is struggling with their mental health and with substance use, we know how vital it is to provide them with the supports they need,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This is why our government is working together with integrated teams in seven more school districts across our province, to bring even more services to youth where they feel most comfortable: in schools, homes or community settings.”

These seven school districts join Richmond, Coast Mountains, Okanagan-Similkameen, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, and the Comox Valley, bringing the number with ICY teams to 12. The Province has committed funding to implement teams in 20 school districts by 2024 to be fully operational by 2025.

“We have heard from students how important their mental health is to their educational success and overall health and well-being,” said Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care. “Having the Integrated Child and Youth teams working so closely with districts means that children, youth and families will have greater access to additional supports during the vulnerable years of their child’s life.”

Integrated Child and Youth teams provide services to all children, youth, and families within a school-district boundary, including those attending First Nations-operated schools, independent schools, francophone schools, alternative schools, or those not in school. Children and youth can connect with ICY teams through various points of contact, such as early years services, school staff, primary care, mental-health and substance-use services, Foundry centres, and Indigenous-led organizations.

Enhancing supports for children and youth living with mental-health and substance-use needs is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for building a comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care for British Columbians.

Quick Facts:

  • Approximately 75% of serious mental-health issues emerge before the age of 25.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected children and youth, particularly people with pre-existing challenges.
  • In B.C., nearly 12.7% of children between four and 18 years are affected by mental-health disorders, and 44.2% of those receive services.

Learn More:

A Pathway to Hope, government’s vision for mental-health and addictions care in B.C.:

Integrated Child & Youth teams: