Written by Karen Tee, Project Leader, Mental Health & Substance Use

We are breaking the traditional mould of family involvement in acute mental health care with the inclusion of a formal parent role on the support team.

We are breaking the traditional mould of family involvement in acute mental health care with the inclusion of a formal parent role on the support team for the new regional Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit (CAPSU) opening in late May. This Institute of Families’ role, Parent-in Residence (PiR), brings to the team the lived expertise of parents who know well the struggle and the heartache that can come when a young son or daughter has mental health challenges.

This is the next step in the evolution of our peer-based mental health services,” said Karen Tee, CAPSU Manager, stressing the value of parents working in a clinical setting -- a significant step beyond the long-established roles on advisories and planning committees.

This is a very progressive and innovative step that Fraser Health is taking,” said Keli Anderson, President and CEO of the Institute of Families for Child and Youth Mental Health. “I don’t know anywhere else in B.C. that this exists.”

Two part-time PiRs will offer families a listening ear, practical advice, support, education and connections to community resources to help them while their child or youth is on the unit, and allow for smoother transitions from one service to another.

“I’ve spent enough time in Emergency with my son to know what it will be like for a mom or dad to be able to connect with another parent who has been through what they’re experiencing with their child or youth in crisis,” said Keli.

They know the system – they know what parents don’t even know that they need to know at that point. It shouldn’t be that hard for parents, and the PiRs will be there to make sure it isn’t,” she added.

As the family is integral to their child or youth’s recovery, it is critical we support them in a way that matters most to them, and that they can continue to benefit from after their son or daughter has left the unit,” Karen added.


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