Youth living with complex mental health needs and behavioral challenges now have access to an intensive day program. This new program provides therapeutic and educational services to support recovery while maintaining close, ongoing connection with youths’ home communities. The new program started February 5, 2024.
Located at Queen Alexandra Hospital for Children’s Health, the Adolescent Intensive Day Treatment program supports youth aged 14-18 with challenging needs who require more intensive care and support.
“Making sure children and young people have the supports they need to succeed in life is a top priority,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “The new Adolescent Intensive Day Treatment program helps kids with high needs develop resiliency and competency in a safe and nurturing environment.”
Adolescent Intensive Day Treatment Program participants are referred to the service through Island Health’s Child Youth Family Mental Health and Substance Use Program. The program is voluntary and intended to support young people with high, but non-urgent/non-acute needs who do not require hospital-based care. The program is strength-based, building on each participants’ capacity and ability, and trauma-informed with a focus on resiliency, competency and recovery.
“This new program addresses an important gap in the continuum of mental health services and supports for young people on Southern Vancouver Island – it will provide a bridge of interventions for youths who may have finished an acute care stay but who are not ready or able to participate in less intense community-based services such as outpatient care and counselling,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair. “Our goal is to build on learnings from the start-up of this service in Victoria and expand to Central Island, likely Nanaimo, in the future.”
Youth attend the Intensive Day Program Monday-Friday 8 am to 3 pm with cohorts running from February-June and September-January to align with the school semester. Presently, each cohort can accept up to 10 participants.
“Youth in the program come to the Garden House at Queen Alexandra every day to receive services in a healing environment which was renovated and redecorated to provide the best care possible for our youth,” said Shauna Kazeil, Clinical Services Director, Child, Youth and Family Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Island Health. “Through a multidisciplinary staff model that includes physicians, therapists, counsellors, allied health and education providers, participants get a half-day of therapeutic services one-on-one or in a group setting, with the other half-day spent on schoolwork and building life skills .”
The Adolescent Intensive Day Treatment Program was developed with input from patient and parent/family/caregiver feedback advisors, as well as clinical staff and medical staff. The program also has sought input and is building an ongoing relationship with the Songhees Nation, Esquimalt Nation and Island Métis Family and Community Services Society.
The program’s name, Adolescent Intensive Day Treatment Program, is likely an-interim starting name which will be updated based on feedback from program participants and other partners over the coming months.