Bernard Richard, BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, as released Missing Pieces: Joshua’s Story, which draws from the death of a 17-year-old the lesson that major gaps exist in BC’s youth mental health system.
Richard calls on BC’s new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to take the lead in building a comprehensive mental health system for children and youth in BC, with a full continuum of services that include prevention, early intervention, family support, emergency and acute care, as well as “step-down” services to prepare youth for community life after hospitalization.
“Our child and youth mental health system must be made truly comprehensive,” Bernard said, “Otherwise young people will continue to fall through the cracks.”
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy fully accepted recommendations in the report, and promised action soon:
“We are intently focused on developing a comprehensive strategy, working in close partnership with all the BC ministries that need to work together to break down silos, to create a seamless, co-ordinated system. A priority area in this work is youth services, in particular, early identification of those facing mental-health issues, early intervention and more proactive support for families.”