Salt Spring Team Focus on Child & Youth Mental Health

moretti_DriftwoodSalt Spring Island Community Services (SSICS) will launch the most recent turn in the 25 year evolution of Child and Youth programming with the welcome of Dr. Jessica Moretti to their location on Fulford-Ganges Road, providing child and adolescent psychiatric services as of Friday March 18th. Dr. Moretti is a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who trained on Salt Spring Island and is familiar with the community.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Moretti,” stated Cheryl Bell-Gadsby Clinical Director at SSICS. “She comes with a wealth of clinical experience, including work in rural communities. Coming from a rural community herself, Dr. Moretti is passionate about providing continuous pediatric and adolescent psychiatry with many years of practice ahead of her.”

In 1991, the current school-based program of youth and family counselling was developed with provincial funding that was later transferred to the school districts. In 1998, the Ministry for child and Family Development began their Child and Youth Mental Health program on the Gulf Islands in response to an increasing need for mental health services to be accessible to children and families in the island communities. Since their inception, the services have been delivered through Salt Spring Community Services. The program was later expanded to include a community and school outreach component.

Today a child and adolescent psychiatrist works as part of an integrated youth services strategy bringing together MCFD, Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and School District funded Counselling and Family Development services together as one team. SSICS earned the VIHA Collaborative Partnership Award for the program in 2011 which was followed by SSICS initiating the Collaborative Practice Committee, bringing an efficient and focused community approach to services for families requiring intensive resources. The psychiatrist position was initiated and held by the departing Dr. Peggy Firstbrook.

“We have been most fortunate to have had Dr. Firstbrook,” said Cheryl Bell-Gadsby . “She is one of the most highly regarded child psychiatrists in the province. She was involved from the beginning and was a key part in securing funding and making the project work. Her highly collaborative style was a natural fit for the service and she has formed a solid foundation for future work and development by new members of the team”.

The more recently developed Division of Family Practice has now joined the initiative and brought additional resources to expand and align with a province-wide initiative to have Local Action Teams in communities coordinating mental health services for children and adolescents.

Child and Youth Mental Health Services can be accessed through SSICS at 268 Fulford-Ganges Road. Referrals are accepted from the Ministry for Child and Family Development, schools, probation, physicians and other community agencies.


For more information contact Cheryl Bell-Gadsby at 250-537-9971