Expanded counselling services announced for kids in Princeton-Merritt school district area

More counselling for kids

The provincial government has announced expansions to Integrated Child and Youth (ICY) services in the Princeton and Merritt areas.

The programming will "connect children and their caregivers to services such as, peer and cultural supports, and counselling," according to a press release issued Wednesday by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

“Children and youth today face more challenges than ever before, and it is important for them to connect to the right services when they need help,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“The Integrated Child and Youth teams in Princeton and Merritt will co-ordinate the mental-health, wellness and addictions resources a young person may need to ensure they have easier access to these crucial services, where and when they need it.”

The team in the Nicola-Similkameen School District boundary will connect children and their caregivers to services like peer and cultural supports and counselling.

"Services will be offered by clinical counsellors connected to schools, youth substance-use and mental-health clinicians, Elders or workers supporting Indigenous children and youth, as well as family and youth peer supports. Together, they will meet the youth where they feel most comfortable, whether in schools or other community settings," reads the press release.

“Children and youth benefit when caring adults work together,” said Keli Anderson, founder and CEO of FamilySmart.

“Integrated Child and Youth teams bring together professionals to support the mental health of young people, providing an invaluable resource. We are thrilled to be providing Family Peer Support Workers to these teams.”

The services will be available for all children and youth up to age 19 and their families residing within the School District 58 boundary, including all enrolled in First Nations, independent and alternative schools.

The team supporting Princeton and Merritt will join 12 other ICY team communities around the province, and seven additional communities are anticipated to soon be announced.

“It’s vital to provide young people with easy access to the supports they need to lead happy, healthy lives,” said Grace Lore, Minister of Children and Family Development.

“Integrated Child and Youth teams bring providers together and make it easier for children and families to get the care they need, meeting them where they are at.”

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