Photo contributed. Monica Kriese and Dr. Richard Currie presented at the board meeting on Tuesday asking that Official Trustee Mike McKay consider the establishment of a wellness centre at the Sullivan campus of Salmon Arm Secondary.

Wellness centre in works for Salmon Arm Secondary

People in rural areas face additional barriers to accessing health-care services.

Time and distance to travel to appointments can be nearly insurmountable, especially when it comes to specialized services like help with mental-health issues, addictions or abuse. This is compounded for youth, who may lack the transportation, financial resources or the ability to fit appointments into their schedule.

But a new plan spearheaded by Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative and the Shuswap Local Action team, which includes representatives from the school district and family doctors, intends to remove some of those barriers by bringing the care directly to some of their most vulnerable clients at Salmon Arm Secondary.

The group is looking to open a wellness centre at the Sullivan campus, which would be staffed by a team of professionals such as doctors, public health nurses and social workers operating one day each week. The services would include assessment, treatment and possibly referral to other programs and services.

“The problems with youth mental health are enormous. We see it in the ER, the teachers see it, school counsellors see it, and parents live it each day. The problem is we can’t help a kid if we don’t see them and barriers to getting this care can be remarkably high, especially for those living in the rural areas,” says Dr. Richard Currie, a Salmon Arm physician.

Committee member Monica Kriese commented that the idea is to make services more easily accessible to students. For example, approximately 20 per cent of students at SAS rely on school buses to get to and from school, making medical appointments or mental- health supports difficult to access.

This initiative has been started in some other schools in the province, and involves a team-based approach of health professionals, with the school district hosting the space at the Sullivan campus. A one-year pilot project is being proposed. The goal would be to get it up and running and then collect data with a view to implementing a program with long-term funding.

“The sustainability will depend on the success,” says Currie.

Kriese also points out that local youth will have a voice in the project by creating a student council for the centre which will help guide what the most-needed services are and how best to deliver them to young people.

The request to consider the establishment of the wellness centre was readily approved by official trustee Mike McKay.

“Spoiler alert,” McKay told those assembled at the recent school board meeting before the presentation was finished. “You will have as strong a support as I can give.”

That being said, McKay wondered about the budget implications, and was informed the school district will not pay for any of the costs of the centre, but would provide the space for the centre at the school.

He added youth mental health is one of the top issues in the province right now and that hopefully this collaboration of services within a community will receive the support it needs to be sustainable.

“I endorse this, approve this, celebrate this and champion this… This is one of, if not the top issue facing today’s youth. This is something that can help make our kids successful and even go as far as saving lives.”

Just Posted

City of Penticton park policy changes approved

The policy includes engagement with the community

Okanagan Medicinal Cannabis Conference coming to Penticton

A variety of topics presented by certified herbalists and a medical doctor

Penticton Indian Band ‘knocking on doors’ of feds for addictions relief

Penticton Indian Band will also focus on community efforts to alleviate overdose crisis locally

Vehicle fire quickly doused

Penticton Fire Department were dispatched to a vehicle fire

Injured mountain biker airlifted to hospital in Kelowna

A mountain biker spent the night with rescuers after suffering injuries

Unfiltered: IPAs explained with Cannery Brewing brewmaster

Checking out the new IPA created by Penticton brewery Cannery Brewing Company

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Most Read