Community event to focus on youth mental health

A social worker who has devoted her career to high-risk children and families will be the guest speaker Tuesday.

  • Nov. 19, 2015 5:00 a.m.

A social worker who has devoted her career to high-risk children and families will be the guest speaker at a day long community learning event being held Tuesday, Nov. 24 at Signal Point Events Centre from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Evelyn Wotherspoon has spent the last decade providing infant mental health training and consultation to health care professionals, the court system, mental health care providers, child welfare workers including First Nations delegated agencies, and communities throughout Alberta, B.C. and the Northwest Territories including the Siksika Nation, the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, Kainai Nation.

Billed as The Core Story of Mental Health Development, the event is hosted by the Cariboo Local Action Team of the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Abuse Collaborative, a provincial initiative funded by Doctors of BC and the B.C. government.

“Many people are unaware that mental health is a development process not unlike physical development, where the early years are critical for developing a foundation of wellness,” said Debora Trampleasure, special projects lead with the action team.

“Fostering a community that is aware and educated to recognize opportunities for early intervention to support children and their caregivers can serve to prevent life-long struggles with mental health and substance use issues for our children and youth.”

The local action team is chaired by family physician Dr. Glenn Fedor with community representatives from the RCMP, local government, physicians, Aboriginal Services, school district, Interior Health, MCFD, The Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre, Communities that Care and the Boys and Girls Club, but the true gem of the collaborative is that youth and families with lived experience are at the table with service providers participating and informing the process of improvement in access to Child and Youth Mental Health services in the community.

“Early intervention has become a priority of our local action team after we mapped the journey of two local youth through mental health services in our community,” Trampleasure said. “One story of a First Nations youth and his family showed us just how complex and challenging this journey can be when people are desperately trying to access services in a rural and remote community.”

It was through the process the team realized there are clear opportunities where early intervention services could have made a significant positive impact on the mental health outcomes of the youth and their families, Trampleasure added.

“We are bringing in Evelyn Wotherspoon as an expert in this area to help us raise awareness of the importance of supportive early intervention in the medical community and the community at large.”

While the event is free and open to the general public, there are only a few spaces left.

For further information contact Trampleasure at dtrampleasure@divisionsbc.ca.

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