The Ontario government has announced a spend of $5.8 million to enhance the capacity of Ontario’s youth wellness hubs across Ontario, including the Niagara Region.
The funding will allow 10 hubs to employ full-time staff including mental health and addictions clinicians, primary care providers, youth workers, and care coordinators to better serve the mental health needs of youth across the province.
The Niagara region was chosen as one of the 10 communities to be part of the youth hubs pilot project. Other communities include Central Toronto, Chatham Kent, Eastern Champlain, Haliburton, Kenora, Malton, North Simcoe, Scarborough, and Toronto East.
Since May 2018, youth wellness hubs across Ontario have been providing care for youths ages 12-25 by providing access to mental health and substance use services, as well as peer, outreach, and system navigation services.
The Niagara Region hub has three co-locations including, the Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara in Welland, John Howard Society of Niagara in Welland, and the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre in Fort Erie.
This funding is part of the $24.3 million investment to hire staff, improve access to mental health and addiction resources, and the creation of new programs to address challenges facing children and youth.
“I know this has been a challenging period for many of our kids and young people, but by making these targeted investments our government is making it easier for them to access the mental health and addictions services they need,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “As Premier, I want to make sure there is always someone there ready to listen and provide expert help. We need to support and help each other in order to get through this pandemic and start us down the road to recovery together.”
This investment also falls under the $176 million investment in the Roadmap to Wellness plan to service gaps in mental health and addiction services across Ontario to create a comprehensive mental health and addictions system.
“Our government is determined to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system that will benefit people in every corner of the province,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott.
Other targeted investments, in addition to the $5.8 million going towards youth wellness hubs, include:
- $11 million for over 80 children and youth mental health service providers to enhance capacity and access to frontline child and youth mental health services.
- $3.7 million for a new eating disorder program. There will be four pilot sites to start, with plans to expand the program across the province.
- $2 million for the implementation of an Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program to provide mental health supports for children, youth and their families.
- $1 million for child and youth mental health services delivered in congregate settings.
- $800,000 to support the creation and operation of Eating Disorders Ontario, which will help with quality improvement across the eating disorders sector.
Information on these investments will be released in the future.