Highlighting Current Needs in Addressing Youth Mental Health in British Columbia

  • Vivian W. L. Tsang UBC Faculty of Medicine http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9401-008X
  • Tribesty Nguyen
  • Privia A Randhawa
  • Maya Rosenkrantz
  • Muhamed Amirie
  • Faizan Bhatia
  • Laila Drabkin
  • Jowon L Kim
  • Aaron S Leung
  • Jacky Tang
  • Tanjot K Singh


In 2017, undergraduate medical students in British Columbia voted as a collective to advocate at the provincial level on the subject of youth mental health. This paper outlines key gaps and evidence-based recommendations for improvement within B.C.’s youth mental health system, including the introduction of mental health literacy programs for primary and secondary schools as a form of primary prevention; implementing simplified data-collection and information-sharing to facilitate coordinated care between different service providers; initiating one-stop-shop and place-based models of care for improving accessibility; and reemphasizing a need to meet the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Action regarding Indigenous health.

Author Biography

Vivian W. L. Tsang, UBC Faculty of Medicine

Vivian Tsang is a medical student at the University of British Columbia, Canada where she was also completed her undergraduate degree in Public Health and Therapeutics. She is recognized in Canada as a National Schulich Scholar, Major Entrance Scholarship winner, and Canadian WE Day ambassador for the Canada150 Celebrations. Vivian is also a WE Day speaker and TEDx presenter and hopes to dedicate her life to improving healthcare accessibility and reducing social inequalities for vulnerable population groups. 


Making strides in this area, she founded and serves as the Director of the Humanitarian Organization for Providing Empowerment (HOPE), a non-profit organization that empowers students to work alongside marginalized community groups in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver through mutual aid and interpersonal humanitarianism. She dedicates her time to organizing various events for Vancouver’s homeless community including the Vancouver Street Store – the first rent-free, premises-free pop up store along with community partners. 


Vivian is also heavily involved in paediatric patient advocacy through her positions as Team Lead of KidsCan at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, co-lead on the national Child-Bright Youth Advisory Panel Steering Committee, and on the Board of Directors on the International Children’s Advisory Network- an advisory group that collaborates with researchers and clinicians around the world to improve paediatric research. Since starting medical school, Vivian has taken the lead as Co-Chair of the Medical Undergraduate Society's Political Development Committee and recently represented the Faculty of Medicine in advocating for improved youth mental health with the Minister of Health in BC. Along with her role on Vancouver City Council's Children, Youth, and Families Advisory Committee, she is working on advocating for improvements to mental health resources for BC youth. 

This summer, she completed a research project in South Africa and Zimbabwe to learn about infectious disease prevention for healthcare workers in low-resource settings and effective ways to implement the WHO HealthWISE tool. She also joined the team at WHO Headquarters focusing on the mobilization of the Tropical Diseases Research Global community and supporting international social innovation initiatives.