A Letter from Dr. Jo Henderson: Reflecting on YWHO in 2022
I wanted to reflect as we wrap up 2022 – an incredible year of growth and evolution for Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario. Recognizing that we are still in our infancy with lots of plans in place for 2023, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the milestones and the success of YWHO teams from this year.
The year started off with a lot of questions, as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was spreading quickly and service providers across YWHO youth hubs were still pivoting to provide safe mental health support to young people. Despite these ongoing obstacles of the pandemic, 2022 has been very positive for the YWHO initiative overall.
As a “network of networks”, we’ve grown from 14 to 22 local YWHO networks thanks to additional funding from the Ontario government to launch eight new networks. Now, YWHO will be providing integrated youth services to over 30 communities across the province. In addition, some of our hubs that pushed back their launches due to the pandemic officially opened their doors to youth and families, including Timmins, Renfrew County, Windsor-Essex, and more.
In terms of support, YWHO introduced more developmentally and culturally responsive programming for young people. We launched new and improved programs, trainings, engagement opportunities, grants, data implementation methods, and more. As a learning health system (LHS), this evidence- and measurement-based work supported our continuous efforts to improve services for youth.
Nationally, there were huge strides in the pan-Canadian space alongside significant announcements that will transform our country’s youth mental health sector. From launching the Federation of Integrated Youth Services (FIYSN) to a funding announcement in November from Minister Bennett to support IYS-Net and data initiatives, there is momentum heading into 2023.
None of this incredible work to support young people would be possible without the ongoing support and commitment of youth, families, service providers, communities leaders and organizations, YWHO networks and staff, and our government and philanthropic partners.. Together, we are creating a movement that is transforming the youth mental health sector in Canada and saving lives now and in the future.
Thank you for all your support this year. We look forward to continuing this work together in 2023.
Dr. Jo Henderson
Executive Director of Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario
Director of Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health
Senior Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)