Covenant House Vancouver

Raising funds for our Mental Health and Addictions Programs

The young people who come to Covenant House Vancouver face many obstacles to achieving independence. The majority of street youth have experienced physical, sexual and or emotional abuse, often at the hands of the adults responsible for taking care of them. Likewise, Vancouver's downtown streets can be dangerous. Sexual exploitation, drug abuse, poverty and illness are commonplace on the streets and many of our youth are re-victimized there, having fled one unsafe situation only to find their circumstances often worse.

Combined with these traumas and often because of them, is the prevalence of mental illness amongst our youth. A wide range of mental illnesses, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to bi-polar disorder to drug-induced psychosis, plague our youth in growing numbers and are often left untreated with devastating impacts. In addition to mental illness, our young people also struggle with addiction and substance abuse. Homeless young people often use drugs and alcohol as a way to "numb" the pain they experience in their lives.

Covenant House Vancouver offers these youth an opportunity to address any counselling and psychiatric needs. Our Registered Clinical Counsellors work from an Attachment Theory lens which recognizes that a safe and trusting relationship is a basic biological human need much like the food, clothing, and shelter we provide.

Immediacy in Action

When it becomes apparent that a youth is struggling with a mental health or addiction, a Social Worker on our Case Management Team refers them to one of our in-house Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCC). The youth and their Clinical Counsellor will determine what supports the youth requires through a trusting, confidential relationship. The youth’s therapy may involve one-to-one counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Art Therapy, referral to a psychiatrist, referral to a treatment centre, or a combination of services. Covenant House Vancouver has a relationship with The Foundry and their team of psychiatrists with whom our Clinical Counsellors work to provide the most effective care possible.

We believe that providing services to aid with these concurrent disorders due to past traumas to clients while they are young is key to preventing lifelong homelessness and for effectively managing symptoms as an adult.