Action Team tackles youth mental health in Langley

A youth fair to spotlight mental health is May 6 at Douglas Park.

Most people will never have heard of the Langley Local Action Team (LAT).

But the work it does is intended to help some of the community’s most vulnerable residents – teens with mental health issues.

Walk it off or suck it up are not workable solutions for youth mental illness.

Instead, the LAT wants to get rid of the stigma around youth mental health so people feel they can reach out for help.

“We’re seeing it increasing and there are lots of ways that if we intervene earlier, youth and families can help themselves,” said Ellen Peterson, executive director with the Langley Division of Family Practice, one of the participating groups in LAT.

The LAT includes about 35 different people and agencies ranging from health professionals, educators and social service agencies to police, First Nations and municipal government. There’s also youth representation.

While the provincial government created the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative, it’s the local action teams that tailor the youth mental health efforts to their communities.

Langley’s team has been active, increasing resources for youth mental health and creating plans to increase public awareness of the key issues involved.

Peterson explained that the best option is to get kids help before “things are acute or they are in a crisis” and the goal is to give them coping skills, support and resources.

“One really important thing is these are youth approved resources,” Peterson noted.

Young people sit on LAT and youth organizations have helped in the creation of its materials.

It’s critical that young people buy into the work for it to be successful.

“If you talk to youth these days, they know, its their friends, themselves and their families,” Peterson said.

LAT is working on creating a hub for young people to access mental health and other services locally.

“The youth have really told us there is no place for them to go,” she said.

LAT expects to have a hub ready to go in the coming weeks. Peterson said the feedback from youth has been that they feel unwelcome in their own community because there are no places to go when they are in need of help.

As part of the LAT work, young people and families are invited to a mental health fair on Friday at Douglas Park.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 6, people can find out about local resources for youth mental health, and have some fun.

“We’re trying to raise awareness,” said Ellen Peterson, the executive director of Langley . “We’re bringing the community together to try and remove barriers.

The LAT is hoping attendees will try out some yoga and is giving away yoga mats to the first 200 people to attend. Barb Stack explained yoga is one of the tools young people can use to help. In addition to the exercise benefits, it encourages mindfulness and offers breathing techniques.

At Fridays event, the winners of the LAT poster contest will be announced. Young people were invited to create posters based on one of four themes – sadness, worry, self harm and stress.

Because mental health affects the whole family, there are activities for toddlers at the mental health fair. There’s a toddler area and a teddy bear clinic.

For others, there’s a selfie station, a Post-It wall, an open art studio and a pledge young people can take. The fair is also a place to find out about the available resources.

“We’re hoping youth primarily attend but we know that it makes a big difference for families,” Peterson said. “It’s particularly important that youth come.”

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants couldn’t find the net: coach

Even with a six-on-three advantage, the Langley-based hockey team couldn’t earn points Sunday.

New Trinity Western student residence is a first for Canada

Five-storey building on Langley campus is second dorm to use modular construction for a quick build

Furor over Japanese flag in Langley classroom (updated)

Secondary school students petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Everett pulls ahead in Western Conference standings over Vancouver Giants

Langley-based hockey G-Men, who lost 6-5 to Everett Saturday, now prepares to take on Victoria.

Langley Thunder lacrosse teams pocket gold and silver in Richmond

Top finishes for U15 and U13-1 teams at Richmond Romp over the Remembrance Day weekend

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

UPDATE: Hells Angels on scene after body found in Maple Ridge

Body was discovered beneath the Golden Ears Bridge

Mountie left with ‘significant’ injuries after driver attempts to flee traffic stop

Richmond RCMP are looking for a dark coloured Mercedes Benz

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Most Read