New website helps navigate the child and youth mental health care landscape in Kootenay-Boundary
The new KB Searchlight website for the Kootenay Boundary (KB) region is the first local web resource to link all child and youth mental health care services in one place. Opening with a welcoming illustrated map of the region, site visitors can click to find the most appropriate local services,
resources and apps for a range of problems, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harming, substance use and more.
“Timely action is often an important part of dealing with mental health issues,” said Dr. Cindy Loukras, Specialist Physician Lead.” This website will quickly direct people searching for help to the most appropriate resources in their home communities. It’s a resource for both the
public and health care providers.”
GP Lead, Dr. Lilli Kerby agrees stating “As a family physician this resource will definitely be of value as I work with my patients to refer them to the most appropriate local support services.”
The creation of the KB Searchlight website is part of a large Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) collaborative funded by the BC government and Doctors of BC.
The program started last year with the goal of providing timely access to integrated mental health and substance use services and supports throughout the province to children, youth and their families. Interior Health is the first region to partner with the collaborative.
The website was created by the CYMHSU Kootenay Boundary Action Team, one of eight local action teams working at the community level in the Collaborative. The KB Action Team brings together a wide array of local stakeholders, including families, doctors, mental health
counsellors, drug and alcohol counsellors, community agencies and more.
Tyler Exner, a youth representative on the KB Action Team who as a teenager faced his own serious mental health issues, including hearing voices, urges youth and families to use thefamily-friendly website. “I want to tell kids that it’s okay to talk about what’s going on with them. I made it harder for myself, by not talking up sooner when I began to have problems,” said Exner, 22, who is now recovered and studying to work in the field of youth mental health. Exner is eager to share his story and experiences to help other youth and families.
The KB Searchlight website aims to help facilitate more timely and appropriate care for children and youth with mental health concerns.