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What services or information is available online?

 

There is a tremendous amount of valuable child youth mental health and substance use information available to you online.  The provincial services section of this website highlights information, websites, resources and apps. 

 

 

What services are available in the Kootenays?

 

This website will guide you to the various services available in the Kootenays.  Go to the main map page and search via community to find out what is available nearest you.

 

 

Where can I find other parents or youth who have had similar experiences?

 

Because of confidentiality it is not possible to list parent or youth names but ask your physician, social worker, counsellor or teacher if they can connect you with a support person. 

 

 

How do I figure out who to contact to get support for myself/my child?

 

You can start by talking to your child’s schoolteacher, school counsellor or family doctor.  A private counsellor or psychologist can also help.  You can also research available resources on line to see which one might best fit your specific circumstances. 

 

Here are some additional resources:

Family Support Organization – Families Organized for Recognition and Care Equality (F.O.R.C.E.) www.forcesociety.com    604 878 3400

Child and Youth Mental Health, call 811

Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Line 1 800 663 1441

Aboriginal Services 1 800 588 8717

 

 

What services is my child eligible to receive?

 

This varies considerably depending on what your child is experiencing.  The first step is to talk to your physician, social worker, counsellor or teacher.  They can help guide you towards the appropriate services for your child.

 

 

How long will we have to wait for an appointment?

 

Wait times vary considerably depending on your specific circumstances and whom you are waiting to see.  It can be frustrating if services are not available as quickly as we’d like them to be but it’s important to remember to keep trying.  Don’t give up!  Remember that most mental health and substance use issues can be treated and it is worth the effort to get your child the right treatment.

 

 

Are we alone?  How common is mental illness?  Is it my fault?

 

Mental health challenges are common and can happen to anyone.  Most of us will either struggle with a mental health challenge ourselves, or will know someone who is affected by one at some point in our lifetime.  Up to 70% of mental illnesses begin before the age of 18.  In BC 14% - 20% of youth are currently experiencing or will experience mental illness.  It is not your fault!  Early detection and treatment can help.

 

 

What signs should I be looking for?

 

There are many different symptoms that are associated with mental health challenges and symptoms can be different for different people.  How a person feels, thinks and behaves can all be affected. 

 

A full list of some of the most common symptoms can be found on the kelty mental health resource centre website: http://keltymentalhealth.ca/mental-health-challenges-and-disorders

 

 

What do I do if there is a crisis?

 

If your child had an alcohol or substance overdose which could be life-threatening, or threatens or attempts to harm himself/herself or others call 911 immediately or visit the local hospital Emergency Services.

Crisis Line:  310-6789

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433

Youth in BC crisis line: 1-866-661-3311

 

 

What are my rights?

 

The following “rights” were drafted in 2001 as a way of describing what people can and should expect from the mental health system in British Columbia. This is not law but intended to help service providers, patients and family members to achieve the best of our mental health system.

 

  • The right to have your basic human rights respected.
  • The right to services that promote mental wellness and recovery and positive attitudes towards mental illness.
  • The right to have concerns listened to, heard and responded to with procedures that follow respectful process.
  • The right to privacy.
  • The right to access timely and relevant treatment and services.
  • The right and responsibility to be a full partner in one’s care and to participate in the development, implementation and evaluation of one’s plan for recovery/rehabilitation.
  • The right to the least restrictive environment possible when in an in-patient setting.
  • The right to appropriate and comprehensive information, education and training, in plain language, about one’s mental health problems, their treatment and what recovery services and community supports are available to meet one’s needs
  • The right of access to a support person of one’s choice, which could include family, advocates or friends, or to exclude individuals whom the person feels would have a negative effect on their treatment/well-being at this time.
  • The right to be included and involved at all levels of systemic mental health service delivery and policy.

Each hospital should have patient rights posted and accessible.

 

Need help?

 

If you believe your rights have been breached, then it is best to talk or write directly to the person or organization giving you the services. Very often they will welcome the complaint or concern as it helps them to improve their standard of service or uncover a problem.

If you feel uncomfortable or unable to do this, you can take a friend, relative or advocate with you as support. You also have the support of the Hospital Patient Representative who is trained to help people resolve health care concerns. This service is free.

Be sure to address your concern fairly and respectfully. Some communities may have access to mental health advocates who will help you work through your concerns. There are provincial organizations like the BC Coalition for People with Disabilities or the office of the Ombudsman or the Minister of State for Mental Health who are also available to help you address your concerns if you cannot get them resolved locally.

 

For More Information:

 

  •             Office of the Ombudsman: 1-800-567-3247 or www.ombudsman.bc.ca
  •             Freedom of Information and Privacy Commissioner: 1-800-663-7867 or www.oicbc.org
  •             BC Human Rights Tribunal: 1-888-440-8844 or www.bchrt.bc.ca

 

 

How do I make a local complaint?

 

Whenever possible it’s best to resolve any issues directly with the person who provided the service.  If that does not work you can contact the manager for the area.  If neither of those steps resolve the issue, you can file a formal complaint. 

 

This link will take you to the page about filing a complaint with Interior Health: https://www.interiorhealth.ca/YourCare/PatientCareQualityOffice/Pages/de...

 

This link will take you to the complaints process page for the Ministry of Children and Family Development:  http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/complaints/

 

 

 

YOUTH FAQs:

 

 

Are we alone? How common is mental illness? Is it my fault?

 

Mental health challenges are common and can happen to anyone.  Most of us will either struggle with a mental health challenge ourselves, or will know someone who is affected by one at some point in our lifetime.  Up to 70% of mental illnesses begin before the age of 18.  In BC 14% - 20% of youth are currently experiencing or will experience mental illness.  It is not your fault!  Early detection and treatment can help.

 

Though you may feel alone at times there is always a group of people who are willing to help you through the tough times, like your family, friends, doctor and counsellors.

 

 

What do I do if there is a crisis?

 

During a crisis it is important to reach out to someone who you trust and talk about your feelings. If you feel like you might hurt yourself or others you will need emergency attention. Never isolate yourself, always stay in connection with others. The number for the crisis line is:  310-6789

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433

Youth in BC crisis line: 1-866-661-3311

 

 

 

How do I explain to my friends what my illness looks and feels like in my life?

 

Telling your friends is a difficult process and takes a lot of courage to tell them what you are going through.  But once you do, you will find yourself surrounded by friends willing to help you overcome your struggles and help shape your life for the better.

 

 

What questions should I ask my doctor?

 

1.  How can I get a better understanding of what I am experiencing?

2.  What is the best treatment method?

3.  Do I need medication? If yes, what side effects will the medication have?

4.  Will the medication make me drowsy or sluggish?

5.  Should I take my medication at a certain time?

6.  How often should I see you?

7.  Can you refer me to a counsellor?

 

 

What questions should I ask my counsellor?

 

1.  How can I get a better understanding of what I am experiencing?

2.  What is the best treatment method?

3.  How long will my treatment be and who will be involved? How will you keep everyone informed?

4.  Will you tell my parents what I say?

5.  How can I explain my illness to my friends and family?

6.  Where can I meet other youth who are experiencing similar things?

7.  When can I expect to feel better?

 

 

What are some potential side effects of medication?

 

This depends on the type of medication you are taking.  Your doctor or psychiatrist will explain any potential side effects to you. 

Some side effects might be:

  • weight gain 
  • high blood pressure 
  • sluggish or drowsy like symptoms 
  • constant urge to eat 
  • low energy  

 

 

What happens if I am hospitalized or referred to a treatment centre?

 

If you are hospitalized or referred to a treatment centre do not panic just relax and get the help that you need. I made the most progress managing my mental illness at a treatment centre where they taught me useful coping mechanisms. It was fun, youth friendly and a welcoming environment.

 

If you are hospitalized make sure you have an understanding that you are in the hospital for your own safety reasons. An inpatient psychiatric unit can be scary at times so having support is important. Make sure to have as many people as you can come visit and be there by your side when you need them.

 

KB Searchlight is an initiative of the Kootenay Boundary CYMHSU Action Team, coordinated locally by Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice and hosted by partner agency, Kootenay Family Place. Other action team members include families, doctors, mental health counsellors, school administrators, health authority staff, community agencies and more. The Child Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative is supported by the Shared Care Committee with additional support for specialist participation from the Specialist Services Committee. Both committees are partnerships between Doctors of BC and government of BC.