Youth in two small communities in the Yellowknife area are getting more resources tailored for their mental health. The Government of the Northwest Territories announced Tuesday that new Child and Youth Care Counsellors will start working in Tłı̨chǫ and Dehcho this month.

They will provide counselling services for students in schools and will work with children and their families. Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy says they’re meant to help fill a gap in mental health resources for young people.

“Our children and youth deserve specialized care tailored to their unique needs. That is why we are working with our partners to put in place responsive solutions for NWT children and youth.”

The government has committed to adding 42 full-time CYCCs and seven clinical supervisors across the territory over the next four years. They are heading to regions and schools based on their need, and seven have so far been recruited or hired.

“The addition of CYCCs in NWT schools will provide a much needed holistic, integrated approach to mental health for children, youth and their families,” says Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Caroline Cochrane. “The services offered to children and youth today will impact the economic and social outcomes of the NWT in the future.”

The announcement was made on World Suicide Prevention Day. The GNWT says it hopes the CYCCs help address high suicide rates in the territory and improve outpatient mental health services for youth in schools.