Health clinic opens doors to EMCS students

In-school program brings doctor, nurses to Sooke district high schools

High schools students in the Sooke School District will benefit from a new health initiative for youth, beginning this month.

Edward Milne Community School, Royal Bay and Belmont will have access to a team of health and wellness professionals who will address the needs of students’ physical, sexual, and emotional wellbeing.

The program starts today (Sept. 14) at EMCS.

The initiative is a collaborative effort between Island Health, Sooke School District and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“We’ve worked collaboratively to make this work for students. The school district is offering up space and a reasonable lease, which has been great,” said Kathy Easton, manager of public health for Island Health.

EMCS and Royal Bay will have a physician and nurse working half-day shifts one day a week. In the future, the Belmont medical team will support all three high schools.

At Belmont, the wellness centre is open to all youth in the school district, while EMCS and Royal Bay is expected to service its own students. The intent of having access to primary care and a range of wellness services in high schools is to improve the health of youth, Easton said.

“Youth don’t typically access health-care services, even when they need to, and youth who have health concerns don’t do as well in school as they might otherwise do, and go on to have more health issues later on,” she said.

The service isn’t a test, or a pilot, but a program that is ready to go.

“It’s all about moving that health-care system around to better meet the needs of the youth,” Easton said.

At EMCS, Jennifer Harrison takes on a more direct role as the school’s youth and family engagement coordinator. She will work directly with groups of students (called youth health committees) who seek to reach out to their own peers about mental and physical health.

Harrison said the anticipation is having the youth go and talk to students about the clinics. At EMCS, they’ll go to the homeroom classes and tag classes and tell them about the clinic and why they should stop by.

“The likelihood that the youth will use this clinic is dependent on how much they were a part of the planning,” she said, adding that youth have been giving feedback as to how the space should look like, and how the environment could be more welcoming.

Harrison is excited of her position and optimistic the program will grow.

“It’s really gratifying to work with a bunch of young people who are really motivated to do something that promotes health in their community,” she said.

“This is a learning experience for all of us, and these young people are really motivated, so it’s easy for me to work with them, because in many ways I’m following their lead.”

Harrison pointed out the Sooke community has stepped up as well with donations for the clinic office, including a stereo, as well as several pieces of furniture.

Final details for the medical office at EMCS are still being ironed out, though Easton said it will be a complete office with a proper waiting room, which will be used once a week by a physician and receptionist in rotating shifts.

Did you know?

Last year, a survey based on 359 EMCS students revealed only 66 per cent have a family doctor, while nearly 40 per cent don’t.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Edward Milne students clean up Whiffen Spit

Volunteers find styrofoam, cigarette butts and a single shoe

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

VIDEO: Seal pup and mom play and ‘kiss’ in Oak Bay Marina

BRNKL seal cam captures harbour seal growing up in busy harbour

Hearing begins into blind community’s complaint against BC Transit, City of Victoria

Complainant says bike lane infrastructure biased against blind pedestrians

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read