Resources for Parents
Knowing where to start to look for help when your child presents with behaviours that make you suspect there are mental health and/or substance use concerns is difficult and overwhelming. Many parents feel frustration and loneliness when tyring to help their child navigate the uncertainty that comes with mental health and substance use problems. The fact is however that you are NOT alone. There are many families in our area dealing with similar circumstances as you. This website is one tool to help you get connected with the right supports to help your child, as well as help yourself.
Although everyone's journeys is different, there are some key steps you can take to get the help you need as quickly as possible. Below is a general guide to the steps to take to get support. This sequence may not work for you - so please use it as a general guide only. And be aware that you can SELF REFER - meaning you can seek out conselling services without a referral from a doctor.
If you are in a crisis situation with your child, please use your local Emergency Room to get immediate help, or call 911. Doctors at St. John Hospital work closely with the Vanderhoof LAT and have developed a streamlined mental health/substance use ER form to help doctors direct families in the right direction after a crisis situation.
For situations where you are not in crisis, the general first step to getting help for your child is through your family doctor. Making an appointment for yourself and/or your child is valuable as family doctors have the ability to (1) make referrals to paediatricians and specialists from outside our communities as well as counselling services in our area, (2) have direct access to specialists from BC Children's Hospital and other larger medical facilities to get advice in short order, (3) can write prescriptions if that is the course of action needed, (4) can support your family long-term, and (5) is an inexpensive support for families.
If you do not have a regular family doctor, contact your local clinic to arrange getting one.
Your doctor may refer you to get counselling, or if you feel that counselling would be helpful for your child, you can self refer and contact any one of the counselling agencies in the area directly to request services. There are several counselling services available in the area for children and youth.
School Counsellors are available throughout School District 91. School Counsellors work with teachers, the child, parents and school administration to provide the best plan for your child. Although you may need to seek counselling outside of the school, keeping contact with the school counsellor can be helpful, especially if your child has an issue during school.
Nechako Valley Community Services Society is the main agency that provides support for children and youth with mental health issues in the Nechako Valley. They are contracted by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development to provide counselling services in the area. The main office is in Vanderhoof, however they have an office in Fort St. James and Fraser Lake.
If you are a family that lives either on or off reserve, you can get counselling services from Carrier Sekani Family Services. The office is in Vanderhoof, however this agency provides services from Cluculz Lake to Burns Lake.
If you are an older youth - 18 years of age and up - you can receive counselling services from Northern Health - Mental Health and Addictions out of the Public Health building in Vanderhoof.
Depending on the circumstances, your doctor or counsellor may refer you to a specialist, such as a pediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist. The referral may be to determine a diagnosis for your child, or it may be for additional medical and mental health advice.
Although specialist services are often not available in our area, some programs such as Telehealth, provide access to these specialists without having to travel. Ask your doctor or counsellor about the different ways to receive additional help.
There are also alternative options for support. These include activities such as yoga, massage, and holistic practices. Within each community there are a number of people and businesses that provide these services that could be a part of your 'tool kit' of support for your child. See our Services page for more information.
If you have questions or are unsure of where to start your journey, please contact our CYMHSU Local Action Team Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org.