Richmond Child Care Resource & Referral

A program of Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives

26 Apr 2019

More parents, kids to get help from free mental health service

Parents and caregivers in B.C. whose children have anxiety impacting their development and day-to-day happiness at home, school and in the community will soon have access to a new, free intervention program.

From BC Gov News, March 29th, 2019

Parents and caregivers in B.C. whose children have anxiety impacting their development and day-to-day happiness at home, school and in the community will soon have access to a new, free intervention program.

The program includes access to educational videos and weekly telephone coaching sessions and will be available starting April 29, 2019.

Serving parents and caregivers of children aged three to 12 years, the Anxiety Program — a new offering under the existing Confident Parents: Thriving Kids service — is designed to reduce the impact of anxiety on a child. It was developed locally by the Canadian Mental Health Association-BC Division (CMHA BC), in partnership with B.C. psychologists who specialize in child and youth mental health.

“Today's announcement is excellent news for families in B.C. that require mental health support for their children,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, federal Minister of Health. “Improving access to home and community care and mental health and addiction services is one of the ways in which collaboration between the governments of Canada and B.C. is helping to make lives better for B.C. residents.”

New office space on View Street in downtown Victoria will house the team that is delivering the online and telephone-based program. In the first phase, a total of 14 of 20 coaches have been hired and are completing orientation and training.

“For parents, knowing how to manage their child's anxious behaviour can become a challenge. With today’s investment, parents now have somewhere to turn for the support they need,” said Judy Darcy, B.C.’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Expanding this successful service is so important because we know that the sooner we address mental-health and behaviour challenges, the better it is for the entire family.”

In addition, to meet the needs of Indigenous families, CMHA BC is working with Indigenous peoples and organizations to develop a culturally sensitive and appropriate model for this program, which is expected to launch in fall 2019.

The new Anxiety Program builds on the success of the existing Behaviour Program that parents and caregivers rate highly in terms of effectiveness.  

“Previously, CMHA BC was relying on year-end funding for Confident Parents: Thriving Kids, and that meant that families never had a guarantee that these services would be available year over year,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development. “We believe these programs are vital and that’s why, for the first time ever, government is providing annual funding.”

The Behaviour Program, which parents and caregivers have accessed since 2015, includes a series of six to 14 weekly telephone-coaching sessions in a flexible format, using exercises and workbooks. Trained coaches empower parents and caregivers to learn effective skills and techniques that are proven to prevent, reduce and reverse the development of mild to moderate behaviour difficulties — including aggression, attention deficit or unco-operative or disruptive behaviour — that create challenges in home, school and public settings.

Parents can access both programs at times that work for them, such as evenings and weekends. A referral from general physicians, pediatricians or Ministry of Children and Family Development community child and youth mental-health teams is required.

The total $5.75-million investment — $3 million for the Anxiety Program and $2.75 million for the Behaviour Program — is part of a five-year, $656-million bilateral agreement announced in September 2018 between the Government of Canada and the Province of B.C. The agreement features targeted incremental investments to expand home and community care, and mental-health and addiction services.

Learn More:

Watch a video about the Confident Parents: Thriving Kids Programs:

Get information about Confident Parents: Thriving Kids at:

Visit the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s public portal to learn more about child and youth mental health case trends and data:

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Phone: 604-279-7143

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