Children suffering from anxiety in BC will soon have access to a specialized program to address needs, and it can be accessed from home.

A new Anxiety Program launched by the provincial government will give parents and caregivers of children aged 3 to 12 years access to educational videos and weekly telephone coaching sessions starting April 29th.

See also: BC educators are now learning anxiety prevention strategies for classrooms

These tools are designed by the Canadian Mental Health Association-BC Division (CMHA BC), in partnership with B.C. psychologists who specialize in child and youth mental health, to help reduce the impact of anxiety on childhood development.

A total of 14 telephone coaches have been hired for the first phase of the program and will be operating out of a View St office in Victoria.

“For parents, knowing how to manage their child’s anxious behaviour can become a challenge. With today’s investment, parents now have somewhere to turn for the support they need,” said Judy Darcy, B.C.’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“Expanding this successful service is so important because we know that the sooner we address mental-health and behaviour challenges, the better it is for the entire family.”

Additionally CMHA BC is working with Indigenous peoples and organizations to develop a culturally sensitive and appropriate model for this program, which is expected to launch in fall 2019.

Parents and guardians will require a referral from general physicians, pediatricians or Ministry of Children and Family Development community child and youth mental-health teams in order to access these tools.

The province has committed $3 million for the Anxiety Program and $2.75 million for a separate Behaviour Program which started in 2015.

This investment is part of a five-year $656-million bilateral agreement announced in September 2018 between the Government of Canada and the Province of B.C. to expand home and community care, and mental-health and addiction services.