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What can I do while my child is on a waitlist?

When your child could benefit from having services but there is a long waitlist, it can be very frustrating. Waiting for mental health or substance use services can be stressful.

During this challenging time, here are a few things you can do:

  • Keep in touch with your doctor and the service you have been referred to. Ask them about the supports that are available while you wait, and how to get immediate help if there is an emergency. If you notice a change and your child is feeling worse or having more challenges, let your care provider know. Your child may need to be seen sooner. Also, make sure you have the most up-to-date information about referrals and wait list times. Follow up with your doctor or the service directly. When you know which waitlist you are on, you can call them and ask to be put on a cancellation list. If you can be flexible with timing, you may get in to see them sooner.
  • Connect with our parent peer support workers at the Kelty Centre. You can learn more about who the FamilySmart Parent Peer Support workers are at the Kelty Centre, and what they offer. They know what it’s like because they’ve been there too and can help things feel more manageable. They can share experiences, offer suggestions, and help you find resources and supports. You can also check to see if there is FamilySmart parent peer support in your community.
  • Learn and connect. Search for information and resources on our Kelty website to learn about your child’s mental health or substance use challenge or diagnosis. You can also connect and learn with other families in the online “In the Know” event series from FamilySmart, with facilitated discussions on various topics. You can also watch "In the Know" videos from their library.
  • Continue to explore other options while you wait. Look into other options such as private counselling (usually charge a fee) on the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors website. Ask your school to see what supports they have. Checkout places that offer walk-in counselling and support services. Services may be offered at places in your community such as neighbourhood houses, community centres, and family services. Contact us at the Kelty Centre for help finding options in your community.
  • Being on a waitlist can be stressful and hard. No matter what mental health issue your child is struggling with, caring for the body and mind can really help. Find practical strategies here to help your family eat well, get enough sleep and physical activity too.
    • Take care of yourself too! As parents, we often put all our energy into making sure that our children are doing ok and forget about ourselves. Give yourself permission to focus on your own self-care when you can. You can try to take advantage of times that you are away from your child to enjoy some deep breaths, a chat with a friend, a walk with your partner, etc. Even 5 minutes can go a long way in helping you feel recharged. When we try to take some time to care for ourselves it can help to recharge us as parents and it can help set an example for our children.

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Through real stories, expertise, and practical tips, this podcast helps families promote their mental health and wellness, navigating important topics to meet you where you are in your journey.