Students in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be among the first to get new mental health and substance use services in their schools. 

The province says schools in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District will work closely with integrated teams to provide support to youth and their families. 

These teams will ensure students don't need to retell their stories to different healthcare providers. They also won't have to search for supports on their own. 

"For too many years, a fragmented and uncoordinated system of care has left many families struggling to find the right mental health and addiction supports for their children before things reach a crisis point," said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy in a news release. 

"Integrated child and youth teams are one way we are making it easier to connect children and youth to the right care, where and when they need it at school and in the community."

The province says Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows was picked for the launch of these integrated child and youth teams because of proactive steps it had already taken in mental health support. Four more school districts will get support teams over the next two years. 

The program is expected to be implemented by the end of this year and the province will provide teachers with resources that will help them identify which students need support earlier. 

"The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education deeply appreciates this important investment in the mental wellness of our youth," said Korleen Carreras, chairperson, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education in a news release.

"Our school district has worked hard with its community partners to put critical systems and structures in place to support students struggling with mental wellness or addictions challenges, and we are ready to implement this new integrated approach for the benefit of all our students."