CMHA York Region and South Simcoe Leads Transformation of Youth Mental Health Care in York Region
CMHA York Region and South Simcoe (CMHA YR &SS) will be leading a transformational approach to youth mental health in the region with the purchase of Ontario’s first mobile health clinic for ages 12-to-25 with the support of a $212,300 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the assistance of the York Regional Police (YRP) and other partners.
“After reviewing the greatest needs facing our community and the current research literature, youth mental health quickly surfaced as a top priority,” says Rebecca Shields, CEO CMHA YR&SS. “Our board and staff made a commitment to tackle our greatest tragedy: the loss of young lives to mental illness, addiction and suicide.”
CMHA staff are already experts in youth mental health and provide a range of services for them. The mobile health clinic will enable workers to reach youth who previously have had difficulty accessing services due to travel, stigma or other barriers by going to where they gather such as malls, schools and skate parks.
The YRP will be lending their expertise to the purchase and retrofitting of the mobile health clinic over the winter with the clinic set to hit the streets in the spring. Chief Eric Jolliffe says, “The YRP has a strong commitment to supporting mental health working closely with our community partners. We’re pleased to support CMHA’s youth friendly program which is a much needed resource in our region.”
Named MOBYSS for Mobile York South Simcoe (pronounced mo-bies), the clinic will have two meeting spaces and one lounge area where youth can drop in, helping to ensure privacy and confidentiality. Youth will be able to use the MOBYSS mobile app to check the van schedule, route and GPS location, book and confirm appointments, digitally connect with the van and access links to other supports and services.
Once fully operational, the clinic will serve over 2,000 youth per year. The van team will include a nurse practitioner, a youth mental health worker and a peer support worker. They will provide assessment, suicide intervention, counselling, referral, sexual health and addictions education and support, basic primary care and health screening. A youth advisory committee will ensure that services remain relevant and client-centered. Partnerships with other agencies and hospitals will ensure a smooth transition between services.
Shields expresses her gratitude to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the York Regional Police and the other health and social service partners. She also thanks all the members of the community who have supported the annual Ride Don’t Hide fundraising ride and other local events which are helping the young people in York Region and South Simcoe have a greater chance for a better future.\