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:
Mary provides peer support from a parent’s perspective, assists with navigation, and connects families with resources. Her family has experienced mental health challenges firsthand and has been involved with various services and programs. As a mother of three, she shares her knowledge in what has helped her own family. She offers empathy and encouragement with families facing similar challenges.
Marilyn 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:
Jasmine (left) is a recent graduate from the University of Victoria, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Her own lived and living experience with PTSD and Depression inspired her to work in the mental health field. Her journey within the system began when she was eight years old as a result of experiencing trauma from a young age and intergenerational trauma within her family. From her experiences, she is now able to help others by providing peer support, sharing what resources helped her during her lowest points, and being living proof that you can and will get through whatever you may be dealing with.
Veronica (right) 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.