Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative: A Plea for continued funding.

After getting so much interest from our Facebook post earlier in the month, sharing the Pique story about funding to the CYMHSU drying up, we asked Tanya Richman, the local action team’s co-chair, to explain what this means, and what we can do about it. 

Funding for 64 Local Action Teams across the province who are tackling youth mental health in grassroots ways is about to end. And that sucks. Because the work is just getting momentum. And it is so very necessary.

The brilliant thing about this initiative is that everything developed in one community can be accessed and applied by any other participating community.

Thanks to Pique Newsmagazine for covering this story, Tanya Richman and Nancy Lee for bringing it to our attention, and the 18 members of Pemberton’s Local Action Team for all that they have accomplished so far.

Why not drop our MLA a note and let him know you think continued funding for the CHILD AND YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE (CYMHSU) COLLABORATIVE IN BC is something worth advocating for.

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Here’s Tanya’s attempt to contain something extremely complex in a short readable actionable blog post.

There have been local committees in the past that have dealt with substance mis-use and mental health intiatives. One committee gave birth to this awesome resource called The Wellness Almanac… heard of it?  Our small communities have shown great commitment through Winds of Change, Communities that Care and collaborating off the side of our desks for many years. The CYMH-SU Collaborative brought all the work to the next level.

Working with this Local Action Team and being linked to other mental health professionals through other local action teams across the province has brought legitimacy to the issues that youth face and more resources then we could ever develop on our own.

This collaborative has linked Doctors, Schools, Therapists, Youth Workers, Teachers, Social Workers and Police. For so many years we have been working off the side of our desks trying to coordinate services for youth in our valleys and this Collaborative has brought most groups to the table in a short period of time, facilitating communication between service providers.

We are just getting started on an essential service that needs to continue to evolve to meet the needs of youth in each generation.

What the Collaborative brings: The Collaborative funds our fearless project co-ordinator, Nancy Lee. She keeps us organized and on track. Reining in a bunch of busy and well-intentioned folks for the purposes of increased services to youth in our valleys and linking us across the province is no easy feat. Our employers recognize the importance of these services and pay for our time spent in committee and working on initiatives. Due to the fact that all LATs are under the same funding we share resources freely without trying to regain costs. For example – The Salt Spring Island LAT developed Suicide Intervention Toolkits for service providers, caregivers and youth. We, in Pemberton were able to take those Toolkits, change phone numbers and resources but keep the information and create our own for our communities without major costs. The same applies to as the initial work was done for North Vancouver LAT and we piggybacked on their initiative for our area. By funding across the province, we have so many minds working on exciting initiatives and sharing them that services and accessibility to services for youth, children and families is improving. It brings the collaborative toolbox ( where LATs from across the province upload their resources for sharing and learning. It brings new ways of working with youth and new ways of connecting to families. It brings services and caring, links physical and mental health and shows youth that they are valuable enough for us to spend time and resources on their health.

I am a co-chair of the Pemberton Local Action team for the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative. We have put together two valuable resources for the community, one being (download the link to your phone! It’s awesome.) and the more recent one, Suicide Intervention Toolkits; one for Youth, one for Parents/Caregivers and one for professionals.  

We meet monthly with people from Líl̓wat Nation, Skatin, RCMP, PSS, XCS, MCFD. We’ve had the mayor of Pemberton lobby on our behalf to Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions as he sees the value of promoting mental health services for youth. The SLRD has taken on, at their expense, the upkeep of so that it stays current for our local youth.

The Collaborative has been a really successful provincial initiative and there have been many great resources developed and programs implemented across the province. It is our hope that the new provincial government will see the value and continue the funding but as it stands, the initiative draws to a close December 31st. 

We need to show our youth that they matter, that we are here for them and that we are working hard to provide safety, space and services for their mental health.

I’m really frustrated because I am pretty passionate about services for youth and now we have something really great and it’s going away. Services need to be ongoing as people change, needs change and problems change. Just two years ago there wasn’t such a concern for anxiety… now it’s everywhere!!! We are always going to play catch up if there keeps being interruptions in funding. So a big thank you for starting this initiative

What are we asking? For continuation of the collaborative so that we are able to continue to provide relevant services for youth in BC.

Here’s a letter you can cut and paste and adapt and email, to let decision makers know that you support this initiative.  

Honorable …….

I believe that The Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative is an important initiative and one that needs to continue and grow in order to keep providing relevant and timely services to youth and their families. Given our current opiod crisis, it is imperative that youth and families get services when they need them – not when families lose their children to the streets, which is the end point for youth who don’t receive proper services or care when intervention is an option.  Mental Health and Substance Use is a dynamic issue and not one that can be ‘solved’ in a three year span. It is an issue that needs constant attention and service as problems shift and change.

Please show our youth that they matter, and that you are committed to providing safe and timely services for their well being.


your name and voting area.

And send your letter to:

Adrian Dix – Minister of Health

Judy Darcy – Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Katrine Conroy – Minister of Children and Family Development

Rob Fleming – Minister of Education

Jordan Sturdy:  – Sea to Sky’s local elected representative

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