Helping young people get the support they need, when they need it, will be the focus of a new youth service centre in Campbell River. On June 17, the Province of BC announced that Campbell River has been selected as one of five communities across BC to be the home of an accessible, youth-friendly, multi-service storefront for young people ages 12-24.
The Province and partners collectively will be investing more than $7.5 million to support youth who are at risk of substance use and mental health concerns with the launch of the BC Integrated Youth Services Initiative (BC-IYSI).
The BC-IYSI will work with Campbell River and four other British Columbia communities –Kelowna, North Vancouver and West Vancouver, Prince George, and Abbotsford – to develop service centres for youth. By bringing together a variety of health and social services under one roof and working in partnership with young people and families, the initiative will transform the way we offer mental health, primary care, and social services to young people.
Campbell River’s youth centre will be hosted by The John Howard Society of North Island in partnership with Island Health (Mental Health and Substance Use, and Public Health), MCFD (Child and Youth Mental Health and Youth Services), School District #72, North Island Employment Foundations Society, Kwakiutl District Council, Sasamans Society, Campbell River Family Services, and Campbell River Community Literacy Association. The centre will be situated in John Howard’s 10th Avenue building, which will undergo extensive renovations in preparation for its opening.
“We were thrilled to learn that Campbell River has been selected as one of the locations for a new youth centre. Our centre will be a place where any youth or parent in our community can walk in and find the help they need. It will fill gaps where young people currently fall through the cracks,” said Wendy Richardson, John Howard Society Executive Director.
Barb Kozeletski, a parent with lived experience of trying to help her child access the mental health system, is a member of the leadership team working on the development of Campbell River’s youth centre.
“I am the surviving parent of a child that would have greatly benefitted by these enhanced services. I fell into this purely by circumstance when I was in need of the services for my family. When I accessed the current services there was nothing cohesive about the journey. It was confusing and fragmented. It has been exciting to be involved in part of the solution to making access to the services more streamlined and with an emphasis on sensitivity in regards to stigma. It’s an opportunity to be on the ground floor of something that gives hope and compassion to our youth,” she said. Learn more at www.bciysi.ca.