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ICY team coming to help Delta's youth

The teams serve to meet young people where they feel most comfortable, whether in schools or other community settings
The teams’ coordinated approach ensures all team members are aware of care plans and can seamlessly connect a child, youth and family to other services that understand their needs, the province explains. cyndidyoder83/Pixabay

The City of Delta is one of seven B.C. communities to have a new Integrated Child and Youth (ICY) team, the province announced last week.

Aimed at creating more seamless mental-health and addiction services, ICY teams are a key part of the government’s work to improve access to mental-health and addictions supports to young people and their families closer to home.

It is estimated that 75 per cent of serious mental-health issues emerge before the age of 25.

In B.C., drug toxicity is currently the leading cause of death for people between ages 15 and 18, with suicide as the second leading cause, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions notes.

The new teams will also serve communities in and around the Central Coast, Cowichan Valley, Gold Trail, Peace River South, Qualicum and Surrey.

The seven new communities will join 13 others in the province with ICY teams in operation or in planning stages.

“Young people face more complex challenges than ever and it is imperative for them to connect to the right services when they need help,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, in a news release. “The new Integrated Child and Youth teams will provide coordinated access to mental-health, wellness and addictions resources, ensuring children, youth and their families have seamless access to these critical services where and when they need them.”

The ministry explains that young people up to age 19 and their caregivers can use the teams to connect to peer and cultural supports and counselling services. ICY teams provide services to those residing within the school district boundary, including young people attending First Nations operated schools, independent schools, alternative school environments or those not in school.

The teams are to reduce barriers to accessing services, providing connections to clinical counsellors, youth substance-use and mental-health clinicians, those supporting Indigenous children and youth, as well as family and youth peer-support workers.

Among the strategic priorities in the City of Delta’s latest Social Action Plan, approved by council last year, is to improve community awareness about mental health and harm reduction services and programs available to Delta residents, as well as improve local access to mental health and harm reduction services to youth at risk.