1-877-908-8222 info@rccbc.ca

Overview:

The SAS Wellness Centre has a team of professionals and volunteers who provide holistic health care to the students in a culturally safe and welcoming environment, including those from Indigenous and LGBTQQIA2S communities.

It allows me to have access to health care options I struggled to find prior to the opening of the centre. The centre provides what I need to be safe mentally and in other aspects of my life. – SAS student

 

 

Services offered

(May Vary Depending on current Covid Restrictions)

Regular medical appointments     One-on-one & group counselling    Peer support

Birth control counselling & Low cost contraceptives      STI & Pregnancy testing

Information on immunizations, smoking cessation & healthy eating

Trauma informed yoga      Mindfulness      Naloxone training

Special guest speakers, events and weekly groups

 

Centre team

Co-ordinator Monica Kriese, GPs Dr. Rich Currie and Dr. Jacquie Gilbank, private counsellors, staff from local offices of Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) and Public Health, Options for Sexual Health, and SAFE Society’s (Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Empowerment) PEACE Program for Children and Youth Experiencing Violence.

Centre Partners

Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice, Rotary (medical equipment), School District 83 (space, utilities, janitorial services, oversight and technical support), Options for Sexual Health, Canadian Mental Health Association, SAFE Society, parents and donations of money and in-kind items.

Don’t underestimate the enthusiasm and energy of volunteers in your community.

You won’t be doing it alone!

 

Why a health clinic inside a school?

“We knew anecdotally that many children were falling through the cracks, and this was supported through provincial statistics as well,” said Dr. Rich Currie, one of the doctors involved with the program. “We also conducted our own survey of the students, confirming there were unmet needs.”

There were a variety of reasons teens weren’t accessing health care, but the major one, like many rural patients of all ages, was transportation. Some students took the bus to school from other communities and had no way of getting to an appointment, and if they did, they’d miss classes. Stigma around making and/or going to a medical appointment was another factor, or simply not knowing how to access local health care kept students from addressing their needs.

The centre opened in April 2018 after much consultation and planning by the local Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative (CYMHSU), which had a main objective of increasing timely access of children, youth and their families to mental health and substance use services. The most requested service by the students themselves was mental health education and support at 31.5 %. The Mental Health and Substance Use Supports tied with Physician Appointments as the most used services during the centre’s first year of operation (23%).

“Overall the feedback has been exceedingly positive,” said Dr. Currie. And In 2019 the centre was recognized with a national award at the Collaborative Mental Health Care Conference in Vancouver. The success of the Salmon Arm Wellness Centre led School District 83 to open a second location at Eagle River Secondary (ERS) in Sicamous in January 2020.

CHALLENGES

When Covid hit and everything closed, the school district was able to secure funding to offer students a confidential, online chat with a mental health support worker.

Now there is a new challenge, finding ongoing funding, most importantly for a Wellness Centre Coordinator / Office Assistant. Currently the centres are operating at reduced capacity with limited non-clinical services and support. This is a short-term solution designed to support students until the end of the current school year. They are currently exploring other sustainable funding opportunities with their local Interior Health partners. Dr. Currie said “there is a renewed vision for full reopening of the centres in September 2022.”

How Did this Information Help?

Services offered

(May Vary Depending on current Covid Restrictions)

Regular medical appointments     One-on-one & group counselling    Peer support

Birth control counselling & Low cost contraceptives      STI & Pregnancy testing

Information on immunizations, smoking cessation & healthy eating

Trauma informed yoga      Mindfulness      Naloxone training

Special guest speakers, events and weekly groups

 

Centre team

Co-ordinator Monica Kriese, GPs Dr. Rich Currie and Dr. Jacquie Gilbank, private counsellors, staff from local offices of Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) and Public Health, Options for Sexual Health, and SAFE Society’s (Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Empowerment) PEACE Program for Children and Youth Experiencing Violence.

Centre Partners

Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice, Rotary (medical equipment), School District 83 (space, utilities, janitorial services, oversight and technical support), Options for Sexual Health, Canadian Mental Health Association, SAFE Society, parents and donations of money and in-kind items.

Don’t underestimate the enthusiasm and energy of volunteers in your community.

You won’t be doing it alone!

 

Why a health clinic inside a school?

“We knew anecdotally that many children were falling through the cracks, and this was supported through provincial statistics as well,” said Dr. Rich Currie, one of the doctors involved with the program. “We also conducted our own survey of the students, confirming there were unmet needs.”

There were a variety of reasons teens weren’t accessing health care, but the major one, like many rural patients of all ages, was transportation. Some students took the bus to school from other communities and had no way of getting to an appointment, and if they did, they’d miss classes. Stigma around making and/or going to a medical appointment was another factor, or simply not knowing how to access local health care kept students from addressing their needs.

The centre opened in April 2018 after much consultation and planning by the local Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative (CYMHSU), which had a main objective of increasing timely access of children, youth and their families to mental health and substance use services. The most requested service by the students themselves was mental health education and support at 31.5 %. The Mental Health and Substance Use Supports tied with Physician Appointments as the most used services during the centre’s first year of operation (23%).

“Overall the feedback has been exceedingly positive,” said Dr. Currie. And In 2019 the centre was recognized with a national award at the Collaborative Mental Health Care Conference in Vancouver. The success of the Salmon Arm Wellness Centre led School District 83 to open a second location at Eagle River Secondary (ERS) in Sicamous in January 2020.

CHALLENGES

When Covid hit and everything closed, the school district was able to secure funding to offer students a confidential, online chat with a mental health support worker.

Now there is a new challenge, finding ongoing funding, most importantly for a Wellness Centre Coordinator / Office Assistant. Currently the centres are operating at reduced capacity with limited non-clinical services and support. This is a short-term solution designed to support students until the end of the current school year. They are currently exploring other sustainable funding opportunities with their local Interior Health partners. Dr. Currie said “there is a renewed vision for full reopening of the centres in September 2022.”

 

Contact(s):

Robyn Ellsworth

Phone:

Community:

Salmon Arm

RCCbc GENERAL CONTACT

Address

620 – 1665 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC. V6J 1X1

Phone

T: 604-738-8222
Toll Free: 1-877-908-8222
F: 604-738-8218

Have a Question About Our Innovations? Contact the Innovations Concierge

Tracey DeLeeuw
tdeleeuw@rccbc.ca

General Enquiries

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