By Mary Beth Hall

The BCSS Youth team presented at the Healthy Minds, Healthy Campuses (HM/HC) biennial summit this February 27 to March 1, 2023. Held virtually, BCSS gave a 20-minute presentation on how BCSS Youth’s Teens in Control (TIC) curriculum helps youth enjoy a healthier transition from high school to university, especially when moving away from home.

This year’s HM/HC summit theme was ‘Activating the Okanagan Charter’, which calls on “post-secondary institutions to embed health into all aspects of campus culture and to lead health promotion action and collaboration both locally and globally.”The BCSS Youth presentation highlighted TIC’s focus on taking care of ourselves, creating healthy boundaries, and navigating stressful situations like starting school or moving away from home. Our effort is to provide youth with the tools and skills to help them transition more comfortably into university life.

Additionally, skills learned through our TIC program let youth create an “emotional safety plan” for themselves as well as others. An emotional safety plan is an action plan youth can follow when feeling emotionally overwhelmed or unsafe. It makes them aware of things like who they can call for support and how they can calm themselves.

Finally, the presentation emphasized how spreading awareness among youth on mental illness promotes the need to focus more on mental health issues both locally and globally. Most importantly, the TIC program teaches the youth to recognize early symptoms of mental illness, which helps significantly with early diagnosis and treatment of severe and persistent mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

BCSS Youth has recently focused on reaching a wider audience and expanding its reach through similar presentations and programs across the province. You can learn more about BCSS Youth programs and services on the BCSS website.