Linking with Community Partners Copy

Every community in British Columbia has had to cope with the impact of mental illness and each community has responded in a unique way. Volunteer and non-profit agencies, religious institutions and health providers have a long tradition of being creative in the development of services often with little to no resources. At an early stage in your planning, solicit feedback from current service providers in both how you should approach the community education and capacity building process and whether they wish to be involved. Initiatives which are endorsed by those service providers with a history of community support can provide opportunities for training and education as well as human and support resources that are needed to develop and implement a thorough plan.

Look to education providers, family doctors and youth agencies as natural allies as they are often the first services parents seek out when their child begins to act unusual. Offering to accommodate work schedules shows good faith in understanding that their support is essential in detecting and referring early psychosis clients. The reputation of your own agency may be a help or a hindrance. Doing some homework on history of change in your community can save a lot of time in determining where your most likely supportive audiences will be found.

Ensure that your own supervisor and/or manager are part of any of your planning as education and capacity building takes time – albeit well spent. Prevention and early intervention is often seen as less important than crisis response and other case management responsibilities. It is important to discuss how early intervention can reduce both need for crisis response and can ultimately reduce the overall caseload of mental health clients (i.e., resulting in better outcomes in the long-term). Organizational support for your efforts is essential.

BCSS ( and CMHA ( are two potential community partners.

You may also be able to connect with a Foundry site in your area or search their website for youth oriented online resources.

Activity One

Think about opportunties in your community for delivering community education or doing other capacity building. Who are the key stakeholders? What would be the ideal goals for capacity building in your community? Who could you partner with? Are there any possibilities for clients or families to get involved in your community (to engage in planning; community presentations; etc.)?

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