TORONTO — The Ontario government is making it faster and easier for young people to connect to mental health and substance use support with the official launch of a new Youth Wellness Hub to serve the west-end of Toronto and surrounding areas.
The new West Toronto Youth Wellness Hub is the eighth hub to open across the province in the past year. Since 2020, Ontario has launched 22 hubs, helping connect over 43,000 youth and their families to mental health and wellness services, accounting for over 168,000 visits. Based on the success of Ontario’s Youth Wellness Hubs, the province will be opening an additional five hubs to connect more communities to youth mental health services, close to home, bringing the total number of hubs to 27.
“By opening the eight new Youth Wellness Hubs across the province in less than a year since we unveiled the Your Health plan, our government is ensuring more Ontarians of all ages have more convenient access to the highest-quality mental health and addictions supports, when and where they need them,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “We will continue to make investments that expand access to these supports and I’m proud of the steady progress we’re making to fix the long-standing issues facing the sector now and for future generations.”
Thrilled to announce the grand opening of the West Toronto Youth Wellness Hub! 🎉 Today, on #BellLetsTalk Day, we take a significant step towards providing vital mental health and substance use support for our young community. A safe haven for faster, easier access to the care. pic.twitter.com/SD4YRBbBzo
— Michael Tibollo (@MichaelTibollo) January 24, 2024
In West Toronto, youth aged 12 to 25 and their families can visit the hub to connect to convenient and free mental health, substance use and primary care services in a safe, youth-friendly space. Services are as diverse as the youth who use them and focus on culturally appropriate and trauma-informed care. There are also supports to help connect and support youth with more specialized and intensive care needs, such as safe beds for detox. Young people can drop in for counselling or peer support, book an appointment or access services virtually.
“Our government is continuing to take action to improve mental health services for communities across Ontario, and support patients and families living with mental health and addictions challenges,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Young people in the west-end of Toronto will receive faster and easier access to the mental health care they need, in one convenient location, closer to home.”
Through the actions taken to date as part of Your Health, Ontario is connecting more people to mental health services and reducing wait times. Progress over the past year includes:
- Expanding the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy (OSP) program to connect adults who have depression, anxiety and anxiety-related concerns to free cognitive behavioural therapy and other related services through ten network lead organizations with over 100 service delivery sites across the province. To date, over 75,600 people have enrolled in the OSP program.
- Opening over 400 addiction treatment beds since 2019.
- Providing children and youth with complex mental health needs with secure treatment by opening 16 additional treatment beds since 2021 with 12 new treatment beds slated to open soon, once the new Roberts Smart Centre youth facility is completed.
- Making it more convenient for children to access mental health supports through One Stop Talk/Parlons maintenant which, as of December 31, 2023, has provided immediate, virtual mental health counselling to 1,264 children and youth.
- Helping people access mental health supports through Health811, Ontario’s free, secure and confidential health advice line.
- Investing nearly $33 million in 2022-23 into over 100 mental health and addictions supports and programs designed to meet the needs of Indigenous communities across the province.
With Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the government has significantly expanded the number of Youth Wellness Hub across the province to make it faster and easier for young people to connect to mental health and substance use support, primary care, social services, and more.
- Ontario has 22 Youth Wellness Hubs across the province, serving over 31 communities: Algoma, Central Toronto, Chatham Kent, Eastern Champlain (Cornwall & SDG and Rockland & Prescott Russell, Haliburton County, Kenora, KFLA Region, London-Middlesex, Malton (includes Peel Region and Mississauga), Niagara Region, North Simcoe, Renfrew County, Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Sarnia-Lambton, Scarborough, Sudbury, Thorncliffe Park, Timmins, Toronto East, Wellington-Guelph, West Toronto and Windsor-Essex.
- In 2023, the government also announced additional funding to expand pediatric services in communities across the province, which will support five additional Youth Wellness Hubs to help fill the gap in youth addictions services.
- In 2020, Ontario released a strategy to build a world-class mental health and addictions system – Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System. Supported by a commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years, Roadmap is adding capacity to meet demand, filling gaps in the care continuum, and creating a provincial infrastructure for a mental health and addictions continuum of care that connects primary, community, and acute care to better wrap around the needs of people with mental health and addictions issues.
- In Budget 2023, Ontario is building on its historic $3.8 billion investment by providing an additional $425 million over three years. This investment will provide community-based mental health and addictions service providers funded by the Ministry of Health with a five per cent increase in base funding.
- Since 2019-20, the government has flowed $525 million in new base funding for mental health and addictions services and supports. This funding is supporting a range of services, including child and youth mental health, community-based addictions services, supportive housing, mental health and justice, and Indigenous mental health and addictions.
“Today, as we mark the 14th Bell Let’s Talk Day, I am thrilled to welcome Yorktown Family Services and their network partners into the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) network. I am grateful to the Government of Ontario and the collaborative community partnerships that have made the development of this hub possible. This critical investment provides young people in West Toronto with an inclusive, welcoming space where they can walk in and access a full range of integrated mental health, substance use health, primary care, housing, employment, recreation, and other support services that meet their individual level of need. Together we continue to work towards positive outcomes with and for all youth in Ontario.”
– Dr. Jo Henderson
Executive Director, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO)
“We want young people to know they are not alone. That’s why we are thrilled to welcome The West Toronto Youth Wellness Hub into the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario family. By expanding Integrated Youth Services to West Toronto, young Ontarians will be able to receive convenient access to high-quality mental health and addictions supports, when and where they need them, ensuring no one is left behind.”
– Sarah Downey
President and Chief Executive Officer, CAMH
“The West Toronto Youth Wellness Hub provides youth and their families with an inclusive, welcoming space where they can walk in and seamlessly access a full range of integrated, barrier-free services through multidisciplinary providers. The West Toronto Youth Hub is uniquely positioned within a Community Health Centre at Unison to provide mental health and substance use supports, primary health care and more, all while fostering social connections through skill development and well-being programs.”
– Suzette Arruda-Santos
Chief Executive Officer, Yorktown Family Services
SOURCE Province of Ontario