BC Children’s Hospital Health Literacy Team
BC Children’s Hospital Health Literacy Team

This award was formally named “Staying Healthy”. Our Excellence in Quality category names changed in 2020 to reflect the updates to our BC Health Quality Matrix. Visit our Categories and Criteria page to find out more.

In BC, an estimated 140,000 children and youth experience mental health challenges, and fewer than 25% of them receive treatment. At any given time, an additional 7,500 youth in BC are struggling with substance abuse.

Mental health challenges are not limited to children and youth: around 16% of pregnant or postpartum women will experience depression and up to 8% may develop an anxiety disorder. These figures represent the significant needs of families, women, children and youth facing mental health and substance use challenges in BC.

Enhancing mental health literacy is critical to improving health outcomes for children, youth, women, and families, and can result in a number of benefits including prevention, early recognition and intervention, and the reduction of stigma and discrimination associated with mental health challenges. In recognition of this need, the BC Children’s Hospital Health Literacy team has created a range of services, resources and initiatives that address mental health literacy.

The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre is the main vehicle through which the team disseminates information to children, youth and families on mental health and substance use challenges. The Kelty Centre provides free information, support, and resources in person, over the telephone, by email, and online to help BC’s children, youth and their families better understand and navigate the mental health care system. The Centre also has a mandate to provide information, resources, and support with system navigation for eating disorders across the lifespan.

The key websites developed by the Health Literacy Team have a substantial reach; in the 2014-2015 year, they had a combined reach of over 340,800 visitors. The three key websites are: the Kelty Mental Health website; the Kelty Eating Disorders microsite; and mindcheck.ca , a site developed specifically for youth and young adults. In addition, the Reproductive Mental Health website provides free information and resources for women with mental health challenges or disorders during the perinatal period. Through these websites, British Columbians can access clear, plain-language, evidence-informed content on a range of topics to help support child, youth and women’s mental health. Many of the resources on the Kelty website are available in seven different languages to serve a wide range of families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Print resources, videos, webinars, mobile apps, and online interactive resources are also available to help increase the accessibility of evidenced-based information.

The team also leads a wide range of health literacy initiatives in the community, including:

  • The Pinwheel Education Series, a free, monthly event which aims to provide learning opportunities for the public on mental health and substance use topics, and to host a forum where people can engage in dialogue with experts and persons with lived experience;
  •  The annual Summer Institute, which invites school professionals, parents, students and school community partners from districts across BC to exchange knowledge and practical strategies, and to improve awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use challenges, among other objectives;
  • The annual Balancing Our Minds Youth Summit, a free, one-day workshop for high school age youth (13-18) in BC to learn about mental health and engage in activities and thoughtful dialogue;
  • The Reproductive Mental Health Team’s Academic Rounds for healthcare providers that are broadcast to all regions of BC using Telehealth technology.

The team plans to put its $2,500 award toward supporting live-streaming of the Pinwheel Education Series and the Reproductive Mental Health Academic Rounds, to enhance learning and engagement. Attendees would be able to watch the events live online through their desktop, laptop, or mobile devices, allowing for more accessible and convenient mental health education across the province.