A unique program supporting families with children recently discharged from an acute youth mental health unit has been successfully piloted in Fraser Health. The Help for Hard Times Program was provided to youth and their families after a stay in the Cloverdale Paint Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit (CAPSU) at Surrey Memorial Hospital. After a successful pilot, RBC Foundation, a Surrey Hospitals Foundation Community Champion, has funded the first three years of the program.

The goal of this program is to help parents, siblings and youth to become more resilient in coping with the mental illness journey after a stay in acute care. Skills such as effective communication methods and self care help guide the family to wellness.

The pilot program was to run in three communities within Fraser Health, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it became a virtual program. This meant even more families from other communities were able to access this important support.

The Help for Hard Times pilot program built skills, abilities, capacities and resiliency within individuals, families and the community. As families continued their healing journey from acute mental illnesses, they benefitted from support they didn’t realize was available to them. Although all these teachings are designed specifically for individual families, the tools and skills that are learned will also have a positive impact for their broader communities.

Healthy families tend to become more involved in their schools and neighborhoods, contributing to overall strength of the community. As well, many families who have walked the mental illness journey will often become supporters for other families in similar situations.

The Help for Hard Times program is a contracted service provided by a community-based program called FamilySmart™. Surrey Hospitals Foundation has also partnered with FamilySmart™ to support Youth-in-Residence and Parent-in-Residence programs in CAPSU. The PiR program was the first of its kind in an acute care setting in western Canada.

Surrey Hospitals Foundation is committed to supporting children and youth programs since the inception of the Foundation in 1992. Our hugely successful CAPSU fundraising campaign made it possible to build the unique, state-of-the-art facility and this next step to provide specialty services in the community is a natural extension of our commitment to youth mental health. We have and continue to work closely with the Mental Health and Substance Use Division within Fraser Health. Part of our mission is to enhance innovation and programs.

RBC Foundation funds programs that address youth and family’s immediate need to access mental health services, a critical area identified by parents, youth and experts in the field. They also prioritize granting for programs that increase collaboration across service providers to reduce fragmentation, with an aim to achieve integration not just within the mental health system, but between the mental health and general health systems.

Surrey Hospitals Foundation is proud to partner with businesses and community organizations who commit to supporting life-changing health care in Surrey. We are grateful for RBC Foundation’s generous support of this program, and look forward to seeing it continue in Surrey, and beyond.