One of the toughest things you can do is care for a young person struggling with mental health and/or substance use issues. So many parents have been through the wringer, shuffled around, and sent from door to door, causing them to lose faith in the system.
Providing Family Support is not new for CMHA Kelowna. When we opened Foundry Kelowna last year it was no surprise to us that 60% of kids showed up with their families or someone who cares deeply for them.
In just 12 months, the number of families receiving the emotional help they need doubled to over 300.
Through partnerships and the collaboration of service providers, we have transformed how young people and their families find the resources and support they need. More than 1,500 youth have accessed Foundry Kelowna in the past year.
Even so, there are still far too many youth struggling with mental health or substance use issues. Many mental illnesses – between 50% – 70% – show up before the age of 18 and have a huge impact on a child’s development. Families become first responders to a crisis they know nothing about.
You can imagine how the role of caregiver can be demanding, isolating and mentally and physically exhausting. It’s also a role that often extends to that struggling child’s broader network – grandparents, siblings and friends.
This is why we need you. With your help, we can make sure that caregivers can get the support they want and need.
Because of you and the collective generosity of this community we have been able to immediately respond to the surge of requests for caregiver support by adding another Family Navigator to our staff team. This is an amazing step forward and an example of how our innovative approach and your trust has allowed us to be nimble and able to respond in real time.
|“I began at Foundry having spent the majority of my career working with children and youth. Working with parents is quite humbling and rewarding. They carry such a big load and need all the support we can give them.” – Family Navigator, Ben Macauley.|
Families are the one constant along the mental health journey. They are the ones who know their kid’s challenges, the triggers and also what’s worked and what’s been effective. Families are the front line of prevention and early intervention.
One outlet for parents and caregivers to feel less isolated is through support groups. It is here they have the opportunity to talk, to be heard in a judgement free zone. Whether it is over coffee and muffins or bacon and eggs at the newly launched Dad’s Group, feelings are validated, learning is experienced and hope is created.
With your support we can take some pressure off and provide smart and proactive help for those who are trying to find it.
Your gift, along with that of others who care, will provide additional caregiver support groups, offer more educational and skill building opportunities, and establish a one-on-one peer mentor program. Every dollar will create stronger connections for parents, grandparents, siblings and friends so no one has to feel alone.
We are just getting started. Our hope is that we can continue to be responsive and do more to come alongside caregivers as they support their kids to be their best self.
Thank you for helping to make sure they are not alone in this journey.