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Mamta Chail-Teves wants to raise visibility and accessibility to the agency that provides children and youth with mental health services

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An experienced social services worker who describes herself as passionate about working with youth has taken on the role of leader of an agency that provides Oxford and Elgin children and youth 18 years of age and younger with mental health services.

“I am a huge advocate for youth,” explained Mamta Chail-Teves, who began her role as executive director at Oxford-Elgin Child and Youth Centre (OECYC) Tuesday. “One of my goals is to remove organizational barriers, but also systemic barriers."

Chail-Teves was formerly employed by Addiction Services of Thames Valley, where she was the co-ordinator of the London drug treatment court and worked in research and quality improvement.

The MBA candidate, who has both a degree in political science and sociology from Western University, said she has “lots of vision” for the agency.

“In view of the youth suicide crisis (in Woodstock), I want to make OECYC more visible and accessible,” Chail-Teves said. “It’s really about reducing stigma around mental health and addictions and developmental disabilities. Education is a huge component of reducing stigma as well."

Suicide, she said, has become the second leading cause of death in Canada for youth following accidental death.

“I think we really need to become more proactive and responsive,” she said. “We can’t just have a cookie cutter approach — we have to be innovative and creative in how we reach out to youth, families, schools and the community.”

OECYC offers several services including a day treatment program, parenting programs, a youth justice program, a crisis and urgent services program, as well as early years, individual, family and walk-in counselling.

Walk-in counselling for youth aged seven to 18 takes place at Dundas Street facility in Woodstock on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To find out more about Oxford-Elgin Child and Youth Centre visit their website at www.ocyc.ca or call 519-539-0463 or 1-877-539-0463.

hrivers@postmedia.com

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