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Presentation: Youth Mental Health Coalition

This presentation was delivered in March 2019, by Alison Connors, Marti Pickett, Amanda Wheeler and Trisha Vyse (from Parkland Alberta) at the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement’s Diversity in Patient Engagement Learning Exchange event. The presenters talk about the Youth Mental Health Coalition that started in 2017, emphasizing lived experience and response to community needs.

The presenters have worked collaboratively to ensure younger people have improved and coordinated access to mental health and addictions support across the care continuum (promotion to intervention) within the community.

Speaking from their lived experience as parents, Amanda and Trisha identified a lack of resources for mental health and addictions, as well as a lack of resources for parents, and a system in which everyone was feeling overwhelmed.

Through outreach and increased services to vulnerable youth communities, the coalition was built on existing relationships, the formation of new relationships, and the understanding of expertise by experience. Enabling factors in their work included:

  • fostering safety and friendship with community members, including meeting them in community spaces
  • the co-designed nature of the supports and partnerships
  • building relationships through trusted partners
  • stepping outside of mandates to look at what is best for the community and who is being served, rather than what’s best for the organization