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Youth summit a first for Kitimat

Attendance is open to youths from Kitimat, Kitamaat Village and Terrace
Photo BC Children’s Hospital

Kitimat will coordinate and host one of five youth summits taking place across the province this month.

This is the first time Kitimat is hosting the Balancing Our Minds Youth Summit, an interactive event where participants hear from youth speakers about their personal experiences.

Kitimat Community Development Centre’s Luiza Couto said the summit aims to build awareness of mental health and substance use, decrease stigma, connect youth with mental health resources and promote mental wellness in schools and the community.

Couto said the summit is being run as part of a partnership between the CDC’s Reach for a Sunbeam program and Northern Health’s Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Attendance at the school-sanctioned event is free and is open to youths from Kitimat, Kitamaat Village and Terrace, provided they have let their school administration know and have received a permission slip to attend.

The event is being hosted by the District of Kitimat, the CDC and Northern Health at Riverlodge on March 28.

The organizers will provide meals and refreshments and participants stand to win prizes as well, including signed goodies from the Canucks for Kids Fund, who are also one of the summit funders.

“We are looking at a maximum number of 125 youths between the ages of 15 and 18 to attend,” said Couto.

The summit also has planning support from BC Children’s Hospital Health Literacy team.

“In Kitimat we are fortunate that we have received further financial support from Haisla Nation, Ministry for Family and Child Development, School District 82 and the District of Kitimat.

“We have a great line up of guest speakers addressing diverse topics regarding wellness. The keynote speakers will present on mental health and substance use,” said Couto.

The summit will take place on one day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the keynote addresses in the morning and afternoon, with five workshops in the morning and afternoon, rotated so that the participants have access to all the workshops.

The guest speakers include youth presenters, the Odd Squad presenting on substance use (the National Film board did a film entitled Through a Blue Lens with the Odd Squad). There will also be variety of other sessions that have been youth approved.

The sessions were all youth approved and youth informed, by the members of the MEMSS Social Justice Committee and by students from Kitimat City High, who also decided on what workshops needed to be run.

“The purpose of the summit is to bring youth together to connect, have fun and learn about and discuss things that impact their wellbeing and how they can promote health and wellness in their respective communities and decrease mental health and substance use stigma,” added Couto.

The deadline for registration is March 20 and can be done online through

For more information, contact Couto by email at or by telephone at 250-632-3144 ext 211.