A few weeks ago I began volunteering for an organization called The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids’ Mental Health. The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids' Mental Health is a provincial organization that provides families with an opportunity to speak with other families who understand and may be able to offer support or advice on what has worked for them. The F.O.R.C.E. also provides families and professionals with information, tools, and tips on how to support and assist children with mental health difficulties.
The FORCE mandate is to support and empower families and work collaboratively with professionals and systems in understanding and meeting the mental health needs of families.
- Promotes child and youth mental health
- Provides families with information and skills on how to manage their child’s worries and anxiety
- Shares information on what services or supports are available for families in child & youth mental health
- Provides information to professionals on topics related to child and youth mental health from a parent’s perspective
- Partners with others in creating information and resources that promote awareness and collaboration in child and youth mental health
- Provides information to families that will enable them to know, and seek out, who does what and where to look for services and resources
- Shares our own experiences and knowledge with others to exchange strengths and knowledge
- Promotes prevention, early identification, and appropriate interventions
The F.O.R.C.E. also.....
- Models and encourages respect between families and professionals
- Assists families in learning how to identify and advocate for what is in the best interests of their child
- Works to support and assist families within boundaries that allows the FORCE to support and assist other families
- Provides opportunities for families to meet other families who’ve been there
- Provides emotional support
- Assists families in learning how to advocate effectively for their children or youth
- Attends meetings, when possible, to assist in taking notes and represent another pair of ears for clarification of information for parents
- Attempts to bridge the needs of families with the constraints of the systems serving children, youth and families
- Assists in promoting mentorship and empowerment for parent
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in Interior Health's Collaborative Project as a youth with The F.O.R.C.E. I spent the day in learning sessions and listening to speakers with families & youth, as well as doctor's, nurses, social workers, and other professionals. It was a day to come together and learn/teach each other how we can improve child and youth mental health.
As someone who is new to BC, it was a great way for me to learn about mental health in BC. BUT it was also a chance for me to see the ways the system here works, as well as the gaps, and to contribute my thoughts on what I have learned going through the system as a youth with a mental illness.
I joined the Cariboo Community Action Team (Cariboo is the 100 Mile House and Williams Lake area), which is a group of professionals, a parent and a youth (me!) that meet to discuss the gaps in youth mental health in the area, how they can be improved, and create actions to make these improvements.
I'm very excited to have attended the collaborative, as well as being a part of an action team. I'm looking forward to what comes next!