The Ministry of Children and Family Development will be adopting a new intake model later this month, said Troy Forcier, a clinical team leader with Child Youth Mental Health in the Cariboo Thompson region during a recent meet and greet with mental health workers held in Williams Lake.
“Government is asking us to have drop-in intake clinics so we can move them more expediently and get to our clients,” Forcier said. “It will eventually result in us not taking third party referrals unless they are crisis cases or extremely acute mental health issues.”
The drop-in clinics will take place every Thursday where clinicians will do a quick assessment, determine if clients fit the criteria, and book appointments.
The drop-in clinics should be up and running by the third week in March, Forcier said.
For about six months, however, the ministry will continue to accept third party referrals from doctors and school counsellors, but what will change immediately is the response, Forcier added.
“Instead of calling and booking a screening, we will be calling and telling people to come to our drop-in.”
Recent statistics released by the MCFD indicate more than 29,000 children and youth receive community mental health services annually — more than double the number who received services in 2003.
Staggering is the fact that nearly 84,000 children and youth age 4-17 suffer from mental health issues in B.C.
The Ministry of Health spent approximately $1.38 billion to address mental health and substance-use issues in 2013/14, an approximate increase of 63 per cent of the 2000/01 total spent, which was $851.4 million.
“The Ministry of Children and Family Development invests approximately $93 million annually to address child and youth mental health and substance use challenges in B.C.,” the ministry noted. “Three-quarters of that funding ($70 million) is spent on community-based mental-health services; the remainder is spent on specialized services, including the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre, mental-health services, and substance use treatment for youth involved in the justice system.
The drop-in model was the best news he’d heard in a long time, said local physician Glenn Fedor who heads up the community youth mental health collaborative action team.