Transforming mental health care by reaching out to youth

The prevalence of mental health problem among Canadian children and young adults is staggering; Statistics Canada reports that youth aged 15 to 24 experience more mental health or substance abuse disorders than any other age group. Adolescence is often the time when many people experience their first signs of mental illness, and that’s why it’s important to treat it before it has a lasting impact on a person’s life.

St. Joseph’s Hospital Youth Wellness Centre wants to ensure that youth always have access to the mental health services and care they need.  At the centre, clients can access care without a doctor’s referral, a crucial difference as only one in four youth with mental illness tend to seek help due to stigma and other barriers.

A HCF grant is helping the centre expand its services, to establish a resource lounge to create a youth-friendly welcoming environment. Here young people can find resource materials, without feeling stigmatized. With support from HCF, the centre has also established a Youth Empowerment Fund, which provides financial support for youth to take part in various activities that support their personal goals as they set on the road to recovery and healing. The fund also helps youth to meet and celebrate small goals that act as stepping stones to a larger goal achievement in their managed recovery.