The BC Children's Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre has trained parent and youth peer support workers through a collaboration with FamilySmart®, a provincial organization of trained young adults and families with lived experience in child and youth mental health called Parents in Residence (PiRs) and Youth in Residence (YiRs).
Wherever your family is in your journey - whether you have never accessed services but are concerned about your child, or your family is currently receiving services and you want to talk to someone who has been though something similar - the PiRs and YiRs are here for you.
Who are our Parent and Youth Peer Support Workers, and what do they offer?
The PiRs and YiRs offer non-judgemental, compassionate peer support to families, caregivers and youth. There are two parent peer support workers (PiRs) and two youth peer support workers (YiRs) who work at the Kelty Centre. The PiRs have lived experience as family members who have children and/or youth with mental health challenges, and provide support to parents and families. The YiRs have lived experience with mental health challenges themselves, and support other youth and their families.
The PiRs and YiRs provide:
- peer support including coping strategies, self care, finding community resources and developing a support network
- personalized system navigation and way finding for a range of mental health services across the province
- mentorship through connecting to other parents, caregivers, or youth
- access to information, resources and networks
Meet the FamilySmart Parents in Residence at the Kelty Centre:
Marilyn Lawson is a retired nurse for children and families experiencing childhood cancer. She is well aware that when a child is ill all family members are affected, and she brings this knowledge to her work. Marilyn has family members and friends with serious mental health struggles, and has also had her own experience with depression, PTSD and anxiety which she has overcome with support and meditation practice. Marilyn has a great understanding of and compassion for the stress and heartbreak parents feel when their children are ill and is strongly motivated to help people find the support they need outside and within themselves.
Kelly Kuerbig moved across Canada as a child, getting to know some of our beautiful country. She loves travelling, live musical theatre, sunshine, beaches, music and spending a day with a good book. Kelly spent many years working with Emergency Services to help those in crisis, and later went back to school when her two girls were older, where she then changed her career to counselling. Kelly's lived experience lies with her family, friends and self. She truly understands how important it is to have someone hear you and walk with you through those challenging times. Finding ones way around resources can be so overwhelming, which is why she is honoured to walk alongside and support families along their way.
Meet the FamilySmart Youth in Residence at the Kelty Centre:
Ciara Toddington completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Simon Fraser University in the Summer of 2018. Throughout her time as an undergrad she held many volunteer positions within non-profit organizations, including facilitating a peer-lead support group through the Mood Disorders Association of BC. After graduating, Ciara took on a position as a mental health support worker in the Vancouver community. She quickly realized the value of connecting with others by sharing her own experiences with mental illness, having struggled with mental health challenges since the age of 9. Ciara understands the effect that mental health concerns can have on families, and hopes through sharing her own experience, she can help support those who are struggling.
Daphnée Lévesque studies English Literature as well as educational and counselling psychology at The University of British Columbia. In the past 2 years, she volunteered with inner city kids to get them excited about reading, writing, and their own potential. She serves as a board member for The Kaleidoscope Mental Health Society, a peer led support group at UBC. She is also a peer facilitator for SHARE (Self Harm Anonymous Recovery & Education). In her free time, she enjoys sharing her story by writing about her lived experience. She publishes a bi-weekly column entitled “Mind Your Mind” for the Ubyssey, has been published on “The Mighty”, as well as Mcleans magazine. As a YiR, she hopes to empower children and their families, since she believes that human relationships, and connection, can be the world’s best medicine and a key part of one’s recovery.