A Focus Long Over-due: Family Mental Health, In Its First-Ever, Three-In-One Global Mental Health Conference

Mental health experts from around the globe will arrive in Vancouver at week’s end, to mark National Child & Youth Mental Health Day (#greenribbon) on Monday May 7th, and to partake in the launch of Families Matter: A Framework for Family Mental Health in British Columbia. They will be attending a three-in-one, three-day Child & Youth Mental Health Matters conference, May 6-8 at the Coast Plaza Hotel on Comox St. Some of the conference speakers will dive directly into their own struggles in their family with mental health.

The Honourable Mary McNeil, Minister of Children and Family Development will open the conference in the afternoon of Sunday May 6th. The Honourable Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC’s Representative for Children & Youth, will speak to the conference attendees just prior to the framework’s release at the Monday evening hotel reception.

The national Institute of Families’ green ribbon campaign will simultaneously mark Canada’s Child & Youth Mental Health Day on Monday May 7th. Wearing a green ribbon on this date is a communal tie with the US National Federation of Families,  which also uses green ribbons to acknowledge and support child and youth mental health. In Canada’s Parliament, Senators will be wearing ribbons, as will MLAs in the BC legislature. In downtown Vancouver, BC Place will ‘go green’ in the morning and evening of May 7th.

More Information

ABOUT THE ADVOCATE-ORGANIZER

Conference co-chair and BC parent Keli Anderson, a long-time child, youth and family mental health champion, and social-profit creator with lived mental health experience with her own family, has taken a two-pronged approach to meeting the challenge of children and families in crisis. Anderson’s decade-old organization, The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids’ Mental Health, is the conference co-sponsor and driving force behind the new framework’s development. Her frank approach to the framework started with a basic premise that all people in a family are affected when there is a mental health problem, and inevitably we need to involve and support the individual and the family.

Anderson's second organization and another conference sponsor, the national Institute of Families for Child & Youth Mental Health, has developed a green ribbon kit that has been distributed to over 70 sites across the country to engage Canadians on National Child & Youth Mental Day, Monday May 7th, in a spirit of support and connection for families and children and youth. These kits were assembled by a group of Abbotsford students who stepped forward from the heartache of losing one of their friends to suicide.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CONFERENCE AT THE COAST PLAZA HOTEL, VANCOUVER, BC

1. OPENING PLENARY

Panel: Making Sure that Child and Youth Mental Health Matters

Sunday May 6, 1:30–5:30pm

The Honourable Mary McNeil, BC Minister of Children and Family Development, opens the conference at 1:30pm. Each of the plenary speakers will provide an address at the opening plenary about their particular area of expertise to the collective group of participants. This will be followed by a large group discussion. Then, people will have the chance to gather in a theme area of their choosing to have more specific dialogue with others in facilitated sessions with the plenary speakers.

2. NAT'L CHILD & YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH DAY CELEBRATION & RECEPTION

Presentation: Family Matters: A Framework for Family Mental Health in BC

Monday May 7, 4:30-6:00pm

The Honourable Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC Representative for Children & Youth, will speak to attendees at 5:15pm. Keli Anderson, Co-Chair and Mark Littlefield, MA, will then present Family Matters: A Framework for Family Mental Health in BC and discuss: what do families experiencing mental illness need to achieve the best possible mental health? Family Matters is a planning resource for families, advocates, policy makers and service providers.

OTHER CONFERENCE SPONSORS: 
BC Representative for Children & Youth; RBC Children's Mental Health Project; 
BC Mental Health and Addictions Services
; BC Government and Service Employees’ Union
; Douglas College, Child, Family & Community Studies; 
Department of Pediatrics, BC Children’s Hospital; 
UBC College of Health Disciplines
; Health Sciences Association of BC
; UBC School of Social Work; 
Professional Employees Association; 
BC Nurses’ Union.

Core Facts

  1. The three concurrent conferences revolve around two factors severely undermining current social and economic structures: 1) 70% of mental health disorders begin before the age of 25, and 2) 1-in-6 children and youth in Canada will experience a mental health problem that impacts their ability to function in school, at home and in their community

  2. Three conferences in one, May 6-8, Coast Plaza Hotel, Vancouver, BC, Canada: 1st National Family Mental Health Conference; 1st International Young Carers Congress; 3rd International World Congress on Children of Parents with Mental Illness

  3. #greenribbon: In the 1800s, the colour green was used to brand people who were labeled 'insane'. The children’s mental health community decided to continue using green, but with a completely different focus. Green signifies new life, new growth and new beginnings. We wear green ribbons to support the mental health of all children, youth and their families, in our communities, our country and our global village.

Videos

Relevant Files

  • PDF File   Name: InstituteOfFamilies-May7-Facts.pdf, Size: No Filesize bytes, Download

  • PDF File   Name: ChildYouthMentalHealthMatters-May6-8-ConferenceBrochure.pdf, Size: No Filesize bytes, Download

  • PDF File   Name: ForceSociety-FamilyEngagementReview.pdf, Size: No Filesize bytes, Download

Quotes

“The intent of this conference and the framework is to not only generate awareness, but to also articulate the holistic function of mental health in families. Then, we get answers about how to support and collaborate with families, and not just talk about them."

Keli Anderson, Executive Director & Co-Founder of Institute of Families & The F.O.R.C.E. Society; Co-Chair of Child & Youth Mental Health Matters Conference

“Talking about mental health as though it is an individual problem is hugely inappropriate. Individuals live it -- but everyone is impacted. This means families are impacted. In BC, we have a government-driven Families First agenda, and there are many other family-based agendas across Canada. Despite this much talk of 'family', many families have told us they aren't feeling valued or supported.”

Keli Anderson, Executive Director & Co-Founder of Institute of Families & The F.O.R.C.E. Society; Co-Chair of Child & Youth Mental Health Matters Conference

“Our integral human dignity and rights begin with children, whose well-being begins with families first. Healthily functioning families are the structural foundation of living well individually, and becoming better together, especially when other adverse conditions are encountered.”

Keli Anderson, Executive Director & Co-Founder of Institute of Families & The F.O.R.C.E. Society; Co-Chair of Child & Youth Mental Health Matters Conference

Company information

The Institute of Families for Child & Youth Mental Health is an independent social-profit organization, working to improve child and youth mental health in Canada by involving families in consultation, education, partnerships. The Institute acts as a catalyst to facilitate connections for families to health care providers, policy makers, educators, researchers, service providers and business across Canada. Strategic development includes: building membership; developing Provincial Family Councils for Child & Youth Mental Health; leading National Child & Youth Mental Health Day on May 7th, and creating Family Smart™ criteria. It was founded in 2009 by BC parent and mental health advocate Keli Anderson and University of British Columbia's Dr. Jana Davidson, and is based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

 

The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids' Mental Health is a provincial organization with a mandate to support and empower families and leverage their lived experience for others in need. It works collaboratively with professionals and systems in understanding and meeting the mental health needs of families with information, tools and tips. It provides families with opportunities to speak with other families who empathize and can mentor, support and advise. The F.O.R.C.E. was formed in 2000 in Vancouver, BC, Canada, by two mothers, Keli Anderson and Donna Murphy, whose own children grappled with mental health challenges.

2nd May 2012

Main Press Contact

Sheri Wisnowski

Communications Counsel

604.728.6160

Conference Co-Chair & Press Contact

Keli Anderson

Executive Director & Co-Founder of Institute of Families & The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids' Mental Health

604.831.1958

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