Aboriginal Child & Youth Mental Health

The Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health Program is a partnership project between the Okanagan Nation Alliance and the Ooknakane Friendship Center funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

The program has an Aboriginal Developmental Clinician (ADC) and an Aboriginal Wellness Coordinator (AWC) who work together to ensure that Aboriginal children, youth and their families have early identification and treatment available to them while ensuring equitable and timely access to meaningful, appropriate, and culturally relevant mental health services.

The ACYMH program serves the South Okanagan communities. The area of coverage includes the four South Okanagan bands: Penticton, Osoyoos, Upper Similkameen and Lower Similkameen, and the urban Aboriginal population.

ONA’s ACYMH Wellness Coordinator has three main functions:

  1. Provide Direct Service to Aboriginal Children and Youth (with the ADC)
  2. Mental Health Promotion
  3. Community Mental Health Coordination

How can I access the ACYMH Wellness Coordinator’s services?

If you need help or would like to learn more about the program, or you would like to inquire or access our services, please contact the ACYMH Wellness Coordinator. Referrals can also come from community staff, self-referrals, and family member referrals. The ACYMH Wellness Coordinator will ensure that you are connected to the Aboriginal Development Clinician or to the appropriate services and resources available in your community.

Youth Wellness Coordinator

The Youth Wellness Coordinator (YWC) was created in 2016 and is funded by the First Nation Health Authority Joint Project Board aimed at service provision for vulnerable Aboriginal youth and their families who are experiencing difficulties maintaining health and wellness and navigating through the health, mental health and wellness service agencies and organizations. The program provides services to youth with more complex needs between the ages of 12-19 and their families from across the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

What Services are available?

The services include prevention, promotion, community linkages, support and brief counseling outreach services. The YWC provides linkages and coordination of community service agencies by building on or creating community mental wellness networks. The YWC will provide specialized group programming for youth who are in need of support, and will further support the youth and their families by providing individual mentorship and/or completing referrals to appropriate agencies that can help the youth and their families reach their wellness goals.