The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District is ecstatic about a service offered students this spring that’s turned out to be more popular than expected.
It’s a Wellness Centre at the Sullivan Campus of Salmon Arm Secondary, that’s a legacy project of the Shuswap Local Action Team of the Child
and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative.
The school district’s official trustee, Mike McKay says reaction to it has been very positive.
“Extremely good reaction from students. It’s been well subscribed and the community and all of the health service and community service agencies that are connected, medical, social services, mental health.”
The centre provides doctors, nurses and counsellors for students in a private setting.
McKay says it’s been heartwarming to hear from students the impact it is having on them.
Students feel it’s a safe place to go.
“A safe harbour and a place where, you know, lives are impacted. Kids are getting good information. They’re getting access to services. It’s extremely important.”
McKay says for some of the kids, access to a family doctor is limited and the Wellness Centre helps to fill that void.
“And the people who have, the team that’s built this initiative going forward, they are stunningly wonderful people. They’ve made such a committment to change kids lives. It is, as I say, very heartwarming.”
A survey of students shows the most sought after service at 31.5 per cent is mental health education and support.
Also being asked for was general support/someone to talk to (16.3%), Sex education & support/STI Testing (13%), recreational activities (8.7%), and drug education and support (7.6%). Also mentioned was physical health services, a quiet/safe space and LGBTQ support.
From April 5 to May 30 the doctor spent 36 hours in the clinic, there was 43 hours of mental health counsellors in the centre, 24 hours spent by OPT sexual health nurse, 10 hours by a public health nurse, 13 hours by other community partners and 16 hours of closed group therapy sessions and meetings.
Director of Instruction (Student Learning) Dianne Ballance, who is on the committee which developed the Wellness Centre says other schools and districts are reaching out to see how the Centre got to where it is.
She hopes to see it expand to other schools in the future.