YELLOWKNIFE (September 11, 2018) – In recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, the Government of the Northwest Territories announced new Child and Youth Care Counsellors (CYCCs) who will begin working in Tłı̨chǫ and Dehcho this month.
The addition of CYCCs in our schools and communities will complement existing resources like community counsellors, community wellness workers, and the 24/7 NWT Help Line. CYCCs will provide counselling services for students in schools, children and work with children, youth, families, and community stakeholders to support and enhance child/youth wellness.
Over the next four years, the Government of the Northwest Territories is introducing 49 staff, including 42 full time CYCCs and 7 clinical supervisors. Seven CYCCs are being recruited or have already been hired to work in the following schools this fall: Echo Dene (Fort Liard), Deh Gah (Fort Providence), Thomas Simpson/Bompas Elementary (Fort Simpson), Mezi Community (Whatı̀) and Chief Jimmy Bruneau (Behchoko).
The decision to implement CYCCs in schools and communities was the result of engagement activities with 130 youth across the Northwest Territories, as well as feedback from Education Authorities and community leaders about the need for specialized and capable mental health resources targeted to students and young people.
The order in which regions and schools were added to the program was based on the level of need and regional readiness as determined by the engagement, feedback and multiple data sources. The number of CYCCs is based on the number of students attending each school. In addition to the CYCCs based in larger schools, schools with less than 75 registered students will continue to receive support through the Northern Counselling Therapeutic Services team of traveling counsellors starting in the same year as the CYCCs in their Region.
While the CYCCs help to address the issues affecting high suicide rates in the NWT, this program is a significant step forward toward achieving this government’s Mandate priority of improving outpatient mental health services for youth in schools. While this initiative is a key component in the GNWT’s Child and Youth Mental Wellness Action Plan released last fall, providing additional counselling to children and youth is also aligned with priorities identified in the Education Renewal and Innovation Strategy.
“Our children and youth deserve specialized care tailored to their unique needs. That is why we are working with our partners to put in place responsive solutions for NWT children and youth.”
-Glen Abernethy, Minister of Health and Social Services
“The addition of CYCCs in NWT schools will provide a much needed holistic, integrated approach to mental health for children, youth and their families. The services offered to children and youth today will impact the economic and social outcomes of the NWT in the future.”
-Caroline Cochrane, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
Media and Communications Coordinator
Cabinet Communications and Protocol
Government of the Northwest Territories
Ph: 867-767-9140 ext. 11092