VICTORIA, BC: Parents and caregivers in B.C. whose children have anxiety impacting their development and day-to-day happiness at home, school and in the community will soon have access to a new, free intervention program.
The program includes access to educational videos and weekly telephone coaching sessions and will be available starting April 29, 2019.
Serving parents and caregivers of children aged three to 12 years, the Anxiety Program — a new offering under the existing Confident Parents: Thriving Kids service — is designed to reduce the impact of anxiety on a child. It was developed locally by the Canadian Mental Health Association-BC Division (CMHA BC), in partnership with B.C. psychologists who specialize in child and youth mental health.
“Today’s announcement is excellent news for families in B.C. that require mental health support for their children,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, federal Minister of Health. “Improving access to home and community care and mental health and addiction services is one of the ways in which collaboration between the governments of Canada and B.C. is helping to make lives better for B.C. residents.”
New office space on View Street in downtown Victoria will house the team that is delivering the online and telephone-based program. In the first phase, a total of 14 of 20 coaches have been hired and are completing orientation and training.
In addition, to meet the needs of Indigenous families, CMHA BC is working with Indigenous peoples and organizations to develop a culturally sensitive and appropriate model for this program, which is expected to launch in fall 2019.
The new Anxiety Program builds on the success of the existing Behaviour Program that parents and caregivers rate highly in terms of effectiveness.
The Behaviour Program, which parents and caregivers have accessed since 2015, includes a series of six to 14 weekly telephone-coaching sessions in a flexible format, using exercises and workbooks. Trained coaches empower parents and caregivers to learn effective skills and techniques that are proven to prevent, reduce and reverse the development of mild to moderate behaviour difficulties — including aggression, attention deficit or unco-operative or disruptive behaviour — that create challenges in home, school and public settings.
Parents can access both programs at times that work for them, such as evenings and weekends. A referral from general physicians, pediatricians or Ministry of Children and Family Development community child and youth mental-health teams is required.
The total $5.75-million investment — $3 million for the Anxiety Program and $2.75 million for the Behaviour Program — is part of a five-year, $656-million bilateral agreement announced in September 2018 between the Government of Canada and the Province of B.C.
Written and released by BC Government.