Gateway Gazette

Child and Youth Advocate Appears Before the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee

Del Graff, Provincial Child and Youth Advocate, appeared before the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee in Calgary (Tuesday) morning and spoke about how the current mental health system is working for vulnerable children and youth. Graff also proposed ideas on how to improve the system.

“I spoke with the Committee about what we have heard from young people,” said Del Graff. “While there has been some progress, for too many young people, accessing effective mental health services remains a significant challenge. It is a challenge that demands thoughtful and decisive action for further progress to be made.”

Also appearing before the Committee were two young advocates speaking up for other youth.

“As a Congolese Canadian, doctors generalized my pain and suffering with those of ‘other immigrants and children from war torn countries’,” said Dada M., youth advocate. “I was prematurely prescribed over 10 medications, now removed, that have caused horrible lasting side effects that prevent me from participating in sports and other activities that were meaningful to me.”

“When you provide services to me you impact everyone around me…so it is your responsibility to respond with the dignity and respect we all deserve,” said Tess A., youth advocate.

The Alberta Mental Health Review Committee, established in June 2015, is co-chaired by MLAs Dr. David Swann and Danielle Larivee.

Graff’s presentation is available here: http://www.ocya.alberta.ca/adult/publications/other-ocya-reports/

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent office of the Legislature, representing the rights, interests and viewpoints of children and young people receiving designated government services.

Read the report “OCYA Submission to the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee” here.

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