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:
Amanda Smith-Westin. Bio TBA!
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.
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.
Veronica Cho started working at the Kelty Centre in July 2017. In previous years, some of the things she has done include teaching English in South Korea at a rural elementary school; living and working in South Africa to pursue her interests in social entrepreneurship and mentorship within the non-profit sector; and participating in various global youth summits in which she had the opportunity to provide recommendations for the economic advancement of girls and women to the G20 leaders. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was eighteen years old, her lived experience with mental illness has been the greatest driver of her determination to carve her own path in life and to thrive despite the challenges. She has learned that she is stronger and more resilient than her mental illness. She feels incredibly humbled and privileged to have the opportunity to help children, youth and families who are struggling with mental health challenges reach that conclusion themselves in the work she does as a Youth in Residence at the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre.