Enhanced support for CaperBase would be welcomed
Dr. Stan Kutcher’s recommendation to “enhance support” for CaperBase is being met with enthusiasm by representatives of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“We welcome his recommendations. They are a good foundation off which to build,” said Dr. Julie MacDonald, a psychologist who is the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s manager for Child and Adolescent Mental Health & Addictions, Cape Breton Area.
“We look forward to continuing to engage and work with our community partners, our families and youth, so we can best address the needs identified in our community.”
Lynn Gilbert, spokesperson for the NSHA, CaperBase is a service that provides resources, mentoring and programming focused on building resilience among young people, helping them build skills for coping with challenges life throws their way, as well as helping them learn how to develop healthy lifestyles and relationships.
“CaperBase is a team of professionals who work directly where youth are. So they spend a large amount of time at schools but they also go to other community events and they create events and recreational activities,” explained MacDonald.
“They really focus on the health promotion prevention piece. They screen youth so they can help them identify whether they may need more professional help and they screen youth for substance abuse and mental health problems.”
While it isn’t clear how support for the program will be enhanced, MacDonald does think they will need to increase the number of staff and the number or frequency of programs they offer.
They may also decide to develop new programs based on need. All of this will be determined over the planning phase, which she said is starting soon and will last three to four weeks.
“It’s a very brief planning phase because we don’t want this to delay the initiative. We will meet with our community partners, youth and families, to get their input,” she said.
“Our role will be to plan together to find out in what areas, whether that’s in our communities or in our schools, that some of the highest risk and highest needs youth are.”
Some meetings will happen with youth who will have input as to the type of programs they would like to see.
MacDonald said she hopes the enhanced support will help them reach more youth than they do now and that it might help people who are waiting to see mental health professionals. The current wait time for children and adolescents is 10–12 weeks after referral unless it is an urgent referral, where the youth will get an appointment within seven days.
“CaperBase also may be able to provide some support to help resolve some milder mental health issues for those who don’t need formal help from mental health and addictions,” she said.
“What I would like to see happen is that we are able to support youth so that we help them build a resilient individual, resilient schools and resilient communities so that they see there are solutions even when they feel there are none. And that they can see there are people who want to help.”
CaperBase, located at 808 George St. in Sydney, provides resources, mentoring and programming focused on building resilience among young people.