Thursday, 1 December 2011

Finding the Help We Need: The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre

Many of us have heard the expression "it takes a whole village to raise a child. Sometimes the  combined effort can get complicated. The family of a student with special needs for example, will, over the course of the child's school career, likely deal with a bewildering number of well intentioned people and agencies. Our complex social service network can include multiple levels of contact from a myriad of ministries, community organizations and service providers.  Just knowing where to start can be a daunting task, especially if the challenge is in the mental health or addictions area.

Increasingly families are turning to the internet for information. Even online the search for help can be bewildering. What sites are reliable? Which ones can truly direct and assist families in search of help? Fortunately in BC there is a site based out of BC Children's Hospital that can offer help. The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre is a provincial resource centre working to link children, youth and their families with appropriate resources and information in all areas of mental health and addictions.

The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre is designed to support BC children, youth and their families to find and use the resources they need in order to make informed decisions and gain access to appropriate services. The Centre, located at Children's Hospital in Vancouver, but accessible from anywhere in the province, is a free, actual and virtual resource for all BC families.  The Centre offers information and resources on a wide range of mental health and substance use issues affecting children and youth. These include, but are not limited to; depression, anxiety, attention deficit and behavioural problems, child/youth eating disorders and substance use.  

A visit to the Kelty's website @ http://keltymentalhealth.ca immediately shows the depth and breadth of resources available not only to families, but also to educators, health professionals, individual parents and youth. Convenient pull down menus provide a visitor with straight forward direction to resources and connections around the topics of healthy living, substance use, mental health and, perhaps most importantly, how to find help.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Kelty Centre is that is can provide parents and youth with direct, live peer support. A Parent Peer Support Worker from F.O.R.C.E. (Families Organized for Recognition and Care Equity) is available to support parents/caregivers on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10am - 5pm. A Peer Support Worker for Eating Disorders  is available to support anyone struggling with disordered eating and eating disorders on Monday 10am-1pm and Thursdays 1-4pm (other times by appointment).

Dealing positively with issues of mental health can be a challenge. Getting connected with accurate and helpful resources can help but knowing where to start and what to believe can be a bewildering roadblock. The Kelty Centre can help. Whether one needs information, direction to resources or even more immediate assistance, the Kelty Centre is a place to start. Take a look at their site and spread the word. The Kelty is a resource that's there for the whole province. When it comes to looking after the health of our students we may be from from and wide across the province, but it still remains for all of us to work together to raise our children with all the support they need.

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