Below is a guide to answer your questions and provide more info about CYMH
Who We are
We are a team that of child and youth mental health professionals that provide evidence-based mental health therapy to child and young people (birth to 18 years) who are experiencing mental health challenges and disorders that significantly impact their ability to function. We refer to our team as Child & Youth Mental Health (CYMH).
The people on our teams who provide therapy are called clinicians.
CYMH also provides services in the area of prevention, risk-reduction, community education and consultation. We don’t do this alone though – we work with others in the community so that young people (and their families or caregivers) receive services that are appropriate, relevant and culturally safe.
Where should I go to seek help?
You need to first find a BC mental health walk-in clinic in your area for an initial intake session. Here, children and young people receive a same-day assessment in a confidential environment, and this offers guidance towards determining what services would be most suitable for the child, young person and/or family or caregivers.
Who pays for this service?
This is a no-fee service, which means children and youth are eligible for a wide range of specialized services Child & Youth Mental Health (CYMH) offers without charge.
What can I expect on my first visit to the CYMH office?
When you visit CYMH in White Rock, you will probably see Orianna or Carolyn at the front reception. One of them will help you find who you’re looking for and guide you in the right direction.
For your first visit, you will meet a clinician there are 6 clinicians working out of the office along with a psychologist, two psychiatrists and one Family doctor. On your visit you might meet Harj, one of CYMH’s most experienced and dedicated professional clinicians. She will conduct an assessment interview with you to get a picture and understanding of what the presenting your concerns are. Harj may not be the clinician who follows up with you, but she will go through collect as much information as possible from you, talk to you about what is confidential and what is not, and she will talk to you about when and why they might need permission from you for certain things. She will do this to get the best sense of the current mental health concern(s). She will also share recommendations for next steps which may include being on a waitlist for therapy services, a referral to other services others offer, as well as or recommendations of interim support to help you while you wait.
Harj is one of CYMH’s most experienced and dedicated professional clinicians. When Harj is not busy offering direct services, she seeks ongoing training opportunities and provides supervision to new clinicians. As a member of this community, providing the best care to some of the most vulnerable people in South Surrey matters to Harj.
How long is the first appointment?
The first session is an initial assessment interview, which is typically 90 minutes. If you are provided therapy, those sessions are about 60 minutes each time and group session times are dependent on the type of group it is.
How can I prepare for my visit?
You can bring any questions and concerns you might have about what’s involved in the services we may offer.
Sharing knowledge and ensuring mutual understanding is a critical way of building good communication and trust with your clinician.
It might help to write your questions and concerns down so that you can easily refer to them during your visit. As parents, it may also be helpful if you share any knowledge and concerns you have about your child or youth. Your perspective and expertise as a parent or caregiver is valued.
Sharing knowledge and ensuring mutual understanding is a critical way of building good communication and trust with your clinician. This helps us work well together as a team to support you as a young person, or as a parent of a child or youth.
See Questionnaires & Screening Tools below
How will CYMH help me?
As CYMH and ACYMH clinicians, we care about the health and well-being of every child and young person seeking help. Our goal is to help children and youth thrive in our community and society.
We come alongside you and listen carefully to what matters most. From there, we make a specific and flexible treatment plan that will directly address your unique needs with the use of effective interventions.
For many young people, parents or caregivers have valuable roles and will be involved in the therapeutic process. You may also be asked to give consent for records and information to be shared for your benefit or the benefit of your child or youth.
It is important that young people and families are advised of what will happen and who may need to be consulted in order to best meet your needs.
Young people and children also have the right to choose what information is shared with their parent (or a caring adult in their life), and how they want their parent (or a caring adult) to be involved in the process.
Why go to therapy?
At CYMH and ACYMH, therapy provides children/young people and their families with psychological support to improve their mental health functioning and to support meaningful change. Sometimes, support can be offered individually and in group settings.
Why would I join a group for young people or for me as a parent and why would I register my child/young person for a therapy group?
Different groups have various targets, goals and focuses. Most groups are similar in the way facilitators moderate dialogue and encourage positive connection between group members.
One way of thinking about it is like a ‘fitness centre for strengthening social skills’.
Sometimes being among peers can be very helpful to understand what is going on and how to change. One way of thinking about it is like a ‘fitness centre for strengthening social skills’
What if I feel nervous / scared?
It is common to feel nervous or scared – this isn’t something you do every day or have ever done. We understand and our clinicians are trained to help recognize distress—they are patient, empathetic, and aware that your seeking help takes courage and may result in some feelings of anxiety. It is their role and privilege to assist you in navigating through the process with both sensitivity and care.
What if I don’t like my therapist?
Our clinicians are qualified mental health professionals who are respectful, non-judgmental, and are intentional about connecting with you in creative ways. They strive to ensure what you’re working on together is what matters to you. CYMH and ACYMH use a survey that invites clients to participate in giving brief feedback before and after each session to track your experiences both inside and outside of the therapy session. We welcome this feedback and it is important to us so we can ensure we are being helpful to you.
Why would a clinician refer me elsewhere?
You may be referred to community programs or specialists that could better address your needs your needs and you could also be advised to go to the hospital if it is determined that there is a serious safety or medical concern.
What are my responsibilities?
- Attending appointments regularly,
- Calling to cancel when unable to attend,
- Informing your therapist when what you are doing in therapy is not working,
- Completing practice skills
What if I see my clinician in town?
To respect your privacy, they typically won’t initiate conversation. It’s up to your personal discretion if you would like to approach/greet them.
What can I expect to change because of therapy?
Change is experienced differently among young people and/or families or caregivers and depends on a range of factors and context. Change can happen quickly or be a slower, more gradual process. CYMH clinicians work collaboratively with young people, families, and other service providers to provide support to help facilitate change based on the treatment plan and the young person’s goals.
What does ‘evidence-based’ practice mean?
This means that treatments used by CYMH clinicians are based on solid research evidence to achieve positive outcomes for children and young people’s specific needs.
What does a trauma-informed approach mean?
This is based on the understanding that symptoms related to trauma are coping strategies developed to manage traumatic experiences. Having mental health challenges in of it-self can be traumatic.
Using a trauma–informed approach means that we will treat you in a way that helps make you feel safe, supported and empowered.