Youth Wellness Bulletin Board is Alive

Sarah Irving, Youth in Residence on August 22, 2012

Have you come across a huge bulletin board that has “Information on Youth Wellness” and “Supporting Mental Wellness” at the BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department? The board is located at the waiting area for psychiatric assessment, however, it has been basically empty for a period of time. This summer, the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre (Kelty Centre) is thrilled to have the opportunity to reconnect with the Emergency Department at the hospital through Shawna Wilwand, the newly hired Emergency Psychiatric Nurse Liaison. After a brief meeting with Shawna, the two Youth In Residence (YiRs) at the Kelty Centre agreed to help to revitalize the area by bringing in some creative and innovative resources to youth and families.

We developed a number of nicely laminated posters which have inspirational quotes about mental health and wellness on them. The posters include beautiful photographs by Brent and the YiR contact information. They are designed to bring hope to the youth who are at the emergency room, letting them know that if they are interested in looking for future peer support,  they can contact us. We hope to send some calm energy to youth and their families who are going through crisis.

Not only have the posters brightened up the space and added some colour to the room, the space is becoming more welcoming especially with additional resources added to the area. We have put resources for families and youth on anxiety, depression, self-harm, body image and information about Kelty events. These resources will be additional supports to families and we hope our outreach efforts will encourage youth and their families to come and visit the Kelty Centre for support and resources. 

Our renewed partnership is proving successful especially with the support of the incredible Shawna Wilwand.  Shawna is consistently checking in with families she works with at the Emergency Department and asking them if they would like to receive additional support from the F.O.R.C.E. Parents in Residence (PiRs) and Youth in Residence (YiRs) at the Kelty Centre before the discharge of their children from the hospital. Request forms are filled out by the families and then Shawna helps fax them to the Kelty Centre directly. One of our PiRs or YiRs will follow up with a phone call or email to the family and provide them with additional support. Julie, our Parent in Residence at the Kelty Centre, says “this has been helpful for families because when families are in crisis they need support the most and we can connect them with appropriate resources in their community right away”.

At this point, we are receiving about one referral a week from the Emergency Department and we are pleased to see an increasing number of families getting appropriate support in good time. This partnership is so fantastic and we are excited to be able to contribute a splash of colour and some information to the space for youth and their families when they are in crisis. We will keep the Youth Wellness Bulletin Board and its nearby area alive!


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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.