Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services, made the announcement today at the Mississauga-based Malton Neighbourhood Services, the network lead for the Malton Youth Wellness Hub.
Youth wellness hubs are walk-in centres where young people ages 12 to 25 can get one-stop access to the mental health and addictions services they need. Services include mental health assessments, treatment for addictions and substance use, therapy and counselling, peer and family support and referrals to health care providers, including psychiatrists. Primary care, education, employment and housing services are also available, all under one youth-friendly roof.
Through these new integrated hubs, up to 12,000 young people who are experiencing mental health or addictions challenges will get the support they need. The hubs also provide seamless access to more specialized care and treatment, if needed.
This investment is part of a historic new $2.1 billion investment that will make it easier to access mental health and addiction services through a local school, family doctor’s office or community-based organization. In addition to these six new youth wellness hubs, the 2018 Budget also commits to creating 15 additional youth wellness hubs across the province.
Ontario will also hire additional mental health workers in secondary schools, who will support mental health and addiction issues early on and provide a bridge to community services so students can get the services they need when they need it. Every secondary school in Ontario will have access to an additional mental health worker, with about 400 new positions being added within two years. Other supports will include new permanent funding for professional development for educators and staff and the inclusion of social-emotional learning skills throughout the curriculum.
Expanding access to mental health and addictions services is part of the government’s broader plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.
- Six new youth wellness hubs will be located in Eastern Champlain (Cornwall area), Haliburton, Kenora, Malton, North Simcoe and Niagara Region. The province is already supporting four youth wellness hubs, including three in Toronto and one in Chatham.
- If passed in the 2018 budget, the province will make a four-year investment of $2.1 billion in mental health and addictions services for people across Ontario.
- Of the government’s total funding commitment to mental health and addictions services, $570 million is dedicated to the child and youth mental health system, to help more young people get the help they need faster and closer to home.
- One in five young people will experience a mental illness at some point in his or her life. Around 70 percent of adults with mental health issues say their symptoms began in childhood or adolescence.
- Providing Ontario’s young people with these mental health and addictions services responds to recommendation made by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s provincial Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council. The Council was formed in 2014 and consists of representatives from diverse sectors, including mental health and addictions experts, and people with lived experience.