Announcement: Minister Carolyn Bennett held funding announcement for Integrated Youth Services (IYS)

On Monday, November 28th, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and and Associate Minister of Health, visited the new West Toronto Youth Hub to announce up to $18 million in funding for projects related to integrated mental health and substance use services for youth.

Minister Bennett was joined by Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Dr. Jo Henderson, Executive Director of YWHO and Director of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Dr. Samuel Weiss, Scientific Director of Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and two youth with lived experience – Kester and Devon.

Announcement Details:

As part of this investment, CIHR is investing $1 million to establish a pan-Canadian “network of networks” known as the Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks (IYS-Net). An additional $15+ million will be provided by CIHR and philanthropic partners to expand IYS-Net across the country. Health Canada is also providing nearly $2 million in funding to CAMH to work with IYS-Net and other partners to develop an Integrated Youth Services National Data Framework and Infrastructure.

“Young people have always faced challenges as they deal with the changes in their lives. Over the past years, their mental health and substance use challenges have been exacerbated by the stresses and social disruption of the pandemic. Integrated Youth Services is a proven model that can lead to improved health outcomes. By supporting IYS-Net in its objective to bring together diverse services and perspectives from youth, care providers, partners, researchers, and people with lived and living experience will we ensure that all youth have the opportunity to receive the integrated care that they need to thrive, grow, and succeed.” –  The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

IYS-Net will be a collaborative effort between the Government of Canada, partners and researchers across provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities to help youth access the services they need. The initiative will create a network of learning health systems through which research evidence, data, and youths’ lived experience are used to inform processes, policies, and practices to improve health equity and service delivery.

The goal of the IYS National Data Framework and Infrastructure project is to collect consistent data across provincial IYS networks. This investment will establish common measures, evaluation frameworks, governance, and digital platform infrastructure. This work will contribute to improved understanding of youth service needs and outcomes, help build and test new services, and help services pivot more effectively when crises arise. The investment will also aid in the shaping of future IYS programs, including services designed specifically to meet the needs of marginalized youth.

“Youth and their families deserve access to high quality services that are co-designed with youth and families, and lead to positive and equitable outcomes for youth throughout Canada. IYS-Net will allow us to develop new and inclusive approaches to support youth effectively. The partnerships across government and philanthropy that have made these investments possible demonstrate a shared recognition of the critical importance of supporting youth to succeed and thrive. Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario is grateful for the vision of these partners and their commitment to youth and families.” – Dr. Jo Henderson, Executive Director, YWHO, and Director, CAMH’s Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health

To read the full news release, click here.

To read the background, click here.

For more information:

YWHO Communications 

YWHO Celebrates Opening of Timmins Youth Wellness Hub

On November 15, 2022, the YWHO Network celebrated the grand opening of their new permanent Timmins Youth Wellness Hub space located at 45 Spruce Street South in Downtown Timmins.

Previously offering services in a rotational model, the new “Hub Headquarters” will allow the team serve youth and families in the Timmins region with a full range of integrated youth services.

“The Hub is amazing, and all of the staff and participants are kind, helpful, and welcoming” said Elise, a youth participant, about her experience attending the Hub.

The new Timmins Youth Wellness Hub (TYWH) Hub Headquarters is a safe, inclusive and welcoming space for all youth aged 12 to 25 to access mental health, addictions and well-being services, resources and support. As part of the YWHO network, the aim is to bring the right services to youth and their families, at the right time and in the right place.

The grand opening event on November 15th was a success, and included a performance from a local Indigenous drum group (the Home Fire Singers), a ribbon cutting, and tours of the space. The event was open to local youth, families, TYWH service partners, and community members as an opportunity to learn more about this new space dedicated to their well-being.

“This is a momentous day… Thank you to our Community Partners, who are the wind beneath our wings; to the youth who we are so honoured to work alongside every day and who continue to inspire us; to our staff team, who are on my gratitude list every day; and to YWHO who is the jet fuel under the wind beneath our wings. This is a reflection of this amazing community that has come together,” said Anne Vincent, Executive Director and Hub Manager of the Timmins Youth Wellness Hub.

Established in September 2018, the Timmins Youth Wellness Hub has been a huge support to Timmins with their “pop-up hubs” rotating through spaces in the community. Youth have had low-barrier access to mental health support, substance use programs, primary care, education and employment support, recreational and skills and well-being programs, peer support and care navigation services – all free of charge and accessible for all.

To read the Timmins Youth Wellness Hub media release, click here.

To listen to a CBC radio segment about the Hub, click here.

The hub operates 30+ hours a week for both appointment-based and walk-in access to services and programming. Check out their social media channels for more information.

To contact the Timmins Youth Wellness Hub:

Learn more about the hub here:

Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex Launches Fundraising Campaign and Announces $1M Gift

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 – Windsor, ON

The Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex team officially launched their $5 million fundraising campaign on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, and announced their first gift – a $1 million lead gift from the Solcz Family Foundation.

The purpose of the fundraising campaign is to support the build of the permanent Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex site. This is now closer to reality thanks to the generosity and support of the Windsor-Essex community.

The new 10,000 square foot youth-friendly space will be located at 215 Eugenie Ave., and will offer integrated mental health and substance use services for youth aged 12 to 25. The team will also provide primary health care, employment and housing supports, and recreational and educational activities.


Operational funding has been provided by the Ontario government. This fundraising campaign will help bring the Youth Wellness Hub to life by further supporting the creation of a youth-friendly environment, programming, and the development of satellite sites in Essex County.

“The Solcz Family Foundation is proud to support Windsor’s first Youth Wellness Hub—a space that is safe and barrier-free, providing our local youth with a multitude of services all under one roof in a warm and welcoming space designed for youth by youth,” says Kyrsten Solcz of the Solcz Family Foundation.

“We hope our community will join us by supporting this wonderful cause to help bring the right services to our youth at the right time and in the right place.”

Kim Willis, Director of Communications and Mental Health Promotion, CMHW-WECB, notes that more funds will need to be raised and that community support is vital.

“We are most grateful to the Solcz family for their amazing support and generosity. The Youth Wellness Hub is a game-changer for our community and something that youth and families have wanted for several years. In recognition of their support this location will be known as the Solcz Family Foundation site,” Willis says.

She added that the reality is our youth are struggling. At the Youth Wellness Hub, there is immediate support available through walk-in support services available and no referral. The Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex opened a temporary location at Maryvale in March 2022. Since then, 213 youth have visited the location almost 1,000 times. The new site will improve services and the experience for those accessing services.

Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex has been supported in various ways by many community partners, including the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Maryvale, Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, New Beginnings, The Inn of Windsor, the United Way, and more. Willis says the hope is more businesses, individuals and organizations will get involved, and all donations will receive a charitable tax receipt.

Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex Partners

For more information:

Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex
Kim Willis, Director of Communications and Mental Health Promotion, CMHW-WECB
(226) 787-2245
(519) 255-9940 x161

Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario Provincial Office
Stephanie La Brie, Senior Communications Advisor 

YWHO Celebrates Grand Opening of Renfrew County Youth Wellness Hub

On October 21, 2022, the YWHO Network celebrated the grand opening of the Renfrew County Youth Wellness Hub.

The hub serves the entire County of Renfrew and offers a full range of integrated youth services to young people aged 12 to 25 years old and their families or support individuals.

The grand opening was full of activities, including hub tours, a ribbon cutting ceremony, snacks, music, and more. The event was open to all local youth, families, and community members as an opportunity to learn more about this new space dedicated to their well-being.

The Renfrew County Youth Wellness Hub will offer mental health support, help with substance use, primary care, educational, employment, and other social services. The hub will also provide recreational and skills and well-being programs, peer support and care navigation services – all free of charge and accessible for all.

“I feel so fortunate that so many people came out to join our celebration. I am beyond words to express how grateful I am to be able to work with the youth and families in this area that are so deserving of such a wonderful new service,” said Sarah Haaima, Hub Manager of Renfrew County Youth Wellness Hub.


The hub operates Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at 278 Nelson Street in Pembroke, Ontario. Youth can access support through appointments, virtual services, or walk-in appointments as needed.

To contact the Hub:

Learn more about the hub here:

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NEWS: Launch of first-ever Canadian youth mental health platform will transform research and treatments

October 06, 2022 – Reposted from Brain Canada

A pioneering youth mental health project will enhance Canada’s overall understanding of youth mental health needs and advance new assessment and treatment approaches.

Each year, one out of every four youth in Canada needs mental health services, making an initiative such as this urgent and critical for the well-being of our young people.

The “Canadian Youth Mental Health Insight (CYMHI) Platform” powered by RBC Future Launchwill use open data, machine learning and other methods to improve communication between youth and families, researchers, clinicians and other service providers with diverse mental health experiences and specializations.

Read the full announcement from Brain Canada and CAMH (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health) here. 

Continuing our Commitment towards Truth and Reconciliation

Last year, Canada held the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Now, September 30th marks an annual recognition of the painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools in Canada, honouring the children whose lives were lost and the legacy of survivors, and creating a space for everyone to engage in meaningful conversations and continued learning, healing and action.

YWHO recognizes that our Network of hubs is situated on lands across Ontario that have been occupied by diverse Indigenous groups for millennia; lands rich in civilizations with knowledge of medicine, architecture, technology, and extensive trade routes throughout the Americas. We are committed to honoring the lands and healing traditions of Indigenous people and working collaboratively to integrate them into our models of care and services for Indigenous youth.

YWHO and all of the local teams across the province are committed to helping advance truth and reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals.

We welcome all Indigenous youth, caregivers and family members who need support in various areas, offering culturally relevant programming co-developed with Indigenous advisories, youth and families. In addition, local hubs collaborate with other local Indigenous organizations to offer culturally appropriate activities, workshops and specialized care. Some great examples of these programs can be seen at our Kenora, North Simcoe, and Timmins hubs.

To ensure that the services and supports provided meet the needs of Indigenous youth and families, we work closely with our Provincial Indigenous Youth and Family Advisory Circle (PIYFAC). This advisory circle is consulted when developing YWHO programs and processes, and plays an important role providing guidance and recommendations to Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario to improve services and care for Indigenous youth and their families.

Today is also known as Orange Shirt Day. We wear orange to raise awareness on the intergenerational impacts of residential schools on individuals, families and communities. The orange shirt also symbolizes the concept “every child matters”. It originated from Phyllis Webstad, who shared her story in 2013. recounting her first day of residential schooling at six years old, when she was stripped of her clothes, including the new orange shirt her grandmother bought her, which was never returned. With the support of the Indigenous grass-root movement Orange Shirt Society, the orange shirt symbolizes the fact that several generations of Indigenous children have had their identity and culture stripped away from them.

We are honoured to work with and support Indigenous communities across Ontario.

We also acknowledge that reconciliation is an ongoing effort and commitment. Supporting Indigenous youth and providing culturally safe care requires significant resources, collaboration and reflection. YWHO still has work to do to demonstrate this commitment. We will continue to work to increase supports at the local and provincial level, establish and maintain respectful and reciprocal relationships, and provide opportunities for Indigenous youth, families and Elders.


*Source :

Shell Sarnia Manufacturing Centre Celebrates Goal-Zero Safety Achievement with a $116k Investment in Youth Mental Health Services

Reposted news release from Canadian Mental Health Association Lambton-Kent

Goal-Zero supports Raising Hope for youth mental health services in Sarnia Lambton.


Sarnia ON, Sept. 13, 2022 –On Tuesday, Shell’s Sarnia Manufacturing Centre (SMC) celebrated the completion of their 2022 Turnaround with employees, contractors, and local youth mental health advocates with a donation of $116,000 to support the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario Sarnia Lambton (YWHO Sarnia Lambton) site (formerly known as ACCESS Open Minds), currently under construction.

“For this year’s Turnaround – the largest in our 70-year history – we set a Goal Zero target for personal safety, meaning zero days of injury,” explained Pauline Buitink, Shell Manufacturing Centre’s General Manager. “And so, as an added incentive to our team, we committed to a $1000 dollar donation for every ‘Goal Zero’ day during the Turnaround to raise hope for youth mental health services in Sarnia Lambton.”

Since 2018, representatives from CMHA Lambton Kent, St Clair Child & Youth Services, Bluewater Health, The Bluewater Health Foundation and Spoken Hope have invested significant time and resources to establish YWHO Sarnia Lambton. As a result of the incredible response through partnerships and donations, it is anticipated that the Sarnia Lambton site will be a premier youth mental health site in the province when it opens in early 2023.

Pleased to be on-hand for the celebration, YWHO’s Spoken Hope Youth Advisory Council Co-Chairs, Janessa Labadie and Maura Cook expressed their appreciation to the Shell Team. “When Shell reached out to us early this year to discuss Goal-Zero, we were excited, and today’s announcement far exceeds our hopes. To have the whole team at Shell come together in support of this initiative really speaks to their understanding of our mental health needs as young people.”

SMC’s GM went on to say, “A community investment in youth mental health really resonated with our teams, reinforcing the importance of mental health for ourselves, our friends, and family. Indeed, many of our people had a real connection with the cause and had personal stories to support the need in the community. We are really pleased to be able to make this donation.”

“Over these last months working with Shell,” reflects Alan Stevenson, CEO, CMHA Lambton Kent, “I have come to realize that in addition to Shell’s tremendous gift to YWHO Sarnia Lambton, they have embedded discussions and information about mental health and addictions into their work culture. We are sincerely grateful to the team at Shell for both their investment in youth mental health and their leadership as a partner in addressing the mental health needs of their teams and community.”
The donation will support capital costs related to the construction and infrastructure of the site.

About Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario
Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) is a network of 22 local hubs that provide integrated services co-designed with youth for youth in communities across the province. Originally funded through philanthropy and by the Ontario government in 2017, YWHO was established to address gaps in the youth mental health system by providing fully integrated services for youth aged 12-25, addressing needs related to mental health, substance use, primary care, education, employment, housing, peer support, outreach, system navigation, and other community and social programming. Through a commitment to rapid and low-barrier access, early and evidence-based interventions, equitable and culturally effective services, and youth collaboration, YWHO is taking a critical step forward to improve Ontario’s youth mental health system.

Creating hope through action – World Suicide Prevention Day 2022

As young people across Canada return to in-person school this month, many are feeling mixed emotions. Some may be experiencing excitement and joy about being back in a space with their peers, while others may be feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. After two years of turbulence, these mixed feelings are expected.

What happens when those feelings of anxiety and despair are unaddressed is the problem. Young people may start to experience suicidal thoughts. In fact, according to the 2021 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, 18% of Ontario students from grade 7 to 12 seriously contemplated suicide last year.*

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day – a day focused on raising awareness about suicide as a global public health crisis. In Canada, suicide is one of the leading causes of premature death among youth, and with accessible, low-barrier support, it is preventable.

Today, we focus on the who, what, why, how, and when.

  • What is happening and what needs to happen?
  • Who are the youth that we need to connect with to understand needs and challenges?
  • Why are so many youth experiencing these thoughts?
  • How do we raise awareness to policy makers, game changers, and the general public to make real changes in the system?
  • How do we remove the stigma around mental health?
  • When are changes going to happen?

We need to treat this as a health crisis today so that no more lives are lost to suicide.

The theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is “creating hope through action”. By raising awareness, reducing the stigma and implementing harm reduction and evidence-based support, we can be actively present and remind people that there is an alternative to suicide. We can create hope.

Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario spans across the province, offer services to all youth experiencing mental health challenges and suicidal thoughts. They can get the help they need and find hope for the future.

If you are personally experiencing suicidal thoughts, know that you are never alone. You are valued, and you deserve to be heard.

If someone you know is struggling, we can also help and offer resources. Local youth wellness hub offers mental health services. There are also crisis resources on our websites and in our social media bios.


*Source :

Recognizing Overdose Awareness Day at YWHO

International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose and raise awareness for substance use supports.

The campaign takes place annually on August 31st, and raises awareness of overdose, stimulates action and discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policy, and acknowledges families and friends who have lost loved ones from a drug overdose.

Why is this important to YWHO?

A lack of appropriate substance use services for young people was one of the main challenges that Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario was established to address. Since then, YWHO has expanded to provide services to youth between 12 and 25 years old and their families in over 22 communities in Ontario. This annual awareness campaign highlights the continued need for support that works for those affected.

What are the goals of IOAD?

Some of the goals of International Overdose Awareness Day are:

  • To inform people around the world about the risk of overdose.
  • To give community members information about the issue of fatal and non-fatal overdose.
  • To send a strong message to current and former people who use drugs that they are valued.
  • To stimulate discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy.
  • To provide basic information on the range of support services that are available.
  • To prevent and reduce drug-related harm by supporting evidence-based policy and practice.

What is an overdose?

Overdoses usually occur accidentally when someone takes more of a substance than their body can handle. This can happen if someone:

  • Has just started using a substance
  • Resumes taking an substance after a period of not taking one for a while
  • Switches from one substance to another
  • Takes more than their usual dose
  • Takes more than one substance at the same time

In Ontario, some 8% of opioid-related deaths are among youth under the age of 25.*

Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario is here to provide walk-in, low-barrier and free substance use support to young people in need of help. All across the province, the Youth Wellness Teams are opening their doors to ensure youth get all the support they need in a one-stop shop. For example: if a young person is looking for substance use support and primary health care, they are able to seek this help under one roof.

This system is designed in collaboration with youth to ensure we meet their needs.

We can change the stats.

“Together, we can work to create a safer stigma-free world to bring awareness to overdoses and the tragedy that follows behind for the family and friends of those we lose. If we educate ourselves and those around us about addiction and the ways we can help those in need, we can help prevent another overdose from happening.” – Sarah Haaima, Opioid Case Manager and Hub Manager, Renfrew County Youth Wellness Hub

Check out our content across our social media channels today: @YWHOntario on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

*Source: Hawke et al. 2022