Youth andFamily Voices

Engage. Advise. Tell your story.

One of CASA’s core values is child-centred and family-inclusive care. As partners in care, we build services around the specific needs of each child and family. Integrating youth and family voices helps us do this. Engaging people with lived experience — the knowledge and wisdom gained through experiencing something directly at mental health organizations like CASA leads to more effective services and reduces the stigma around mental health.

We provide two avenues for youth and families members to share their voices at CASA:

We’re currently seeking new members for the council and the network! Learn more about each opportunity below. For more information, email us or find us on Instagram.

Please note: The council and network are not peer support groups and cannot offer mental health treatment. 

Youth and Family Advisory Council

The Youth and Family Advisory Council (YFAC) is a group of youth, parents and family members with lived experience in accessing mental illness treatment. They advise CASA on creating an organization that puts those we serve at the centre of our decisions and services.

With support of the network, the council also uplifts the voices of youth, children and families with mental illness through various projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can join the Youth and Family Advisory Council?

  • Youth aged 14 to 22 with lived experience accessing mental illness treatment.
  • Caregivers and family members of current or former CASA patients.

Please note: To be eligible, you must live in the Edmonton area and be able to participate in monthly in-person meetings.

What is the time commitment?

  • One two-hour meeting per month on a Tuesday evening.
  • Up to three additional hours a month contributing to projects or preparing for meetings.

Youth and Family Voices Network

The network is a group of Albertans who are passionate about mental health advocacy.

Members engage with CASA and provide input in a variety of ways, from sharing their voices at virtual focus groups and workshops to reducing stigma through mental health advocacy projects. All activities are driven by a common purpose of reducing stigma as a means of continuous improvement.

If you’re passionate about mental health advocacy, consider joining CASA’s Youth and Family Voices Network!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can join the Youth and Family Voices Network?

  • Youth aged 12 to 22 who are passionate about mental health advocacy.
  • Caregivers and family members of children and youth who experience mental health challenges.

Please note: To be eligible, you must live in Alberta. 

What is the time commitment?

  • Participate in opportunities on a flexible, self-serve basis.
  • Sign up when it works for you and know the expected time commitment up-front.

Projects

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in Unseen: Youth Mental Health Zine and ‘AM I ENOUGH’ Photovoice Research Project are those of the youth and family member contributors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of CASA Mental Health.

Unseen: Youth Mental Health Zine

Unseen is a publication created entirely by youth, providing a youth lens on mental health. Youth members and CASA patients come together to contribute artwork, poetry and stories that speak to their diverse experiences. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our spirit with you, and hope you take away new knowledge from our words.

You can read all of the editions here:

Call for submissions!

Unseen is accepting submissions of art, poetry and writing (250 words or less), focusing on the theme of navigating mental health systems.

Who can submit? Youth ages 12 to 22 who are affected by mental health challenges.

Deadline: June 15, 2024

‘AM I ENOUGH?’ Photovoice Research Project

Created in 2020 by the Youth and Family Advisory Council, the ‘AM I ENOUGH?’ Photovoice Research Project gives a platform to the often-unheard experiences of parents and caregivers of children with mental illness. We hope this project shines a light on the reality of raising a child with a mental illness, from our side of the camera.

History

CASA has long been a proud leader in ensuring youth and family voices with lived experience are at the heart of our services. The Youth and Family Advisory Council is rooted in what was previously two councils: the Family Advisory Council, established in 2014, and the CASA Youth Council, established in 2016. In 2021, the two councils joined forces to form the current Youth and Family Advisory Council. In 2023, CASA launched the Youth and Family Voices Network, which complements the meaningful work of the council.

Access Opportunities

Already a member? Log in to My Impact, our Youth and Family Voices portal, to sign up for opportunities!

Get the My Impact app here.

 

Contact Us

Follow us on Instagram as we elevate and connect the voices of youth and families with mental illness.

For more information, email voices@casaservices.org.

Share your voice with CASA!

The Youth and Family Advisory Council and the Youth and Family Voices Network are currently looking for members.

For A Child In Immediate Crisis

If your child is in physical danger or is at risk of harming themselves or someone else, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

If your child is in crisis, dial the Edmonton distress line at 780-482-4357 for immediate assistance.

May 1-7 is Mental Health Week.

For thousands of families across Alberta, every week is Mental Health Week. Support CASA Mental Health and help empower our kids and families thrive.