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)
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: www.ywhtimmins.ca
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
(519) 255-9940 x161
Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario Provincial Office
Stephanie La Brie, Senior Communications Advisor
NEWS: Algoma Region Youth Wellness Hubs Location Announced
July 29, 2022
On Friday, July 29, Ali Juma, CEO of Algoma Family Services formally announced the new site of the Algoma Region Youth Wellness Hub thanks to the contributions of community funders and partners.
Through an unprecedented level of collaboration between community partners to establish a Youth Wellness Hub, Algoma Family Services (AFS) will lease the building on behalf of their partners from the SSM Housing Corporation.
The hub will be located at the former International Order of Odd Fellows Lodge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The goal is to open the Hub this fall or winter. However, the building requires extensive repair and renovation.
Since 1951, this Lodge has played a key role in the community through the community service of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) and the AFS team are thrilled to have such a great space for youth, and are pleased this building will continue to serve the community for hopefully decades to come.
As one of the 8 new YWHO sites announced by the Ontario government this February, Algoma Region will join the network of the 14 established hubs across Ontario. The team will operate initially for five days a week and provide the following services:
- Mental Health / Substance Use Counselling
- Health Promotion
- Employment Counselling
- Food security
- Housing and Income Support
- Cultural and LGBTQ2+ Support
- Anti-Human Trafficking
- Child Protection
Algoma Region’s team plans to grow the services offered at the hub and to be open seven days a week, and the hub has extended an open
invitation to community partners and community groups servicing youth to work with the team.
Algoma community partners include: the Canadian Mental Health Association – Algoma, Algoma Public Health, John Howard Society, the Indian Friendship Centre, THRIVE Child Development Centre, the Children’s Aid Society of Algoma, Northern Youth Services, the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services Administration Board, and YWHO. Community partners will be contributing in-kind staff, services, and financial resources where available to support the Hub. Information sessions for the neighbours and surrounding businesses will be provided later to ensure the hub we develop will add value to the immediate community and create a mechanism to address any concerns or issues that come up.
Youth will play a central role in the co-creation and design of the space here, as well as the services and programs to be offered. The hub will be a culturally safe place for youth ages 12-25 years of age to find the help they need, to connect with other youth, to learn about the services available to them, and to create a better tomorrow.
Video: Sault Online ONNtv
For the full media package prepared by Algoma Family Services, click here.
For more information, please contact:
YWHO Communications Team
NEWS: The Rockland Youth Wellness Hub team opens additional outreach site for youth services in Embrun, Ontario
On May 13, 2022, the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) team supporting the Rockland & Prescott-Russell community opened the doors of a new outreach site.
In addition to their main location, Rockland Youth Wellness Hub, and their Hawkesbury outreach site, the team has now opened a new outreach site in Embrun, Ontario. The team will offer services every second Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for youth aged 12 to 25 with walk-in or booked appointments available.
The additional outreach site provides more youth with the ability to access the right services in the right place at the right time. Youth and families in the Embrun area can receive a range of integrated youth services, including mental health and substance use support, peer support, care coordination, and more.
The Rockland & PR Youth Wellness Hub team now provide services at:
- Rockland & PR Youth Wellness Hub – 1517 Laurier St., Rockland, ON
- Hawkesbury Outreach Site – Mental Health and Addiction Regional Centre, 580 Spence Ave, Hawkesbury, ON
- Embrun Outreach Site – 649 Notre Dame St., Unit 203, Embrun, ON
Please check the @Rocklandyouthhub social media channels for more information, dates and times, services, and how to get in contact.
Phone: +1 613-577-7219
NEWS: YWHO’s Guelph team (“The Grove”) opens an additional location at the University of Guelph
YWHO’s Guelph team (“The Grove”) opens an additional location at the University of Guelph to address the mental health and wellness needs of local youth.
The following release was issued from The Grove on June 17, 2022
“The Grove”, the group of seven Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario sites that reside in the Guelph-Wellington area announced the official grand opening of a new location.
As of June 21, 2022, The Grove will now be providing services at the University of Guelph, which will be a safe space for youth where they can access the mental health support they need and be empowered to take control of their own wellness journey.
The Grand Opening event will take place on June 21, 2022, and will feature remarks from local youth, dignitaries, stakeholders, and community partners on the impact this new location will bring to the community. This grand opening is an important milestone for the Guelph and Wellington region, as these communities have seen a major increase in the need for youth mental health support.
With the addition of this hub, mental health supports will be more accessible to local youth than ever before.
- What: Grand Opening of The Grove – University of Guelph. Attendees will learn about the Hub’s vision to address the current mental health and wellness concerns facing local youth in Guelph and Wellington County.
- When: Tuesday June 21st from 10:30 a.m – 1:00 p.m.
- Where: 50 College Ave W, Guelph, ON – Reserved parking available at the University of Guelph P30 at the corner of College and Smith Lane. Signs on the main road and around the parking lot will be in place to direct attendees to the event.
ABOUT THE GROVE
The Grove Wellington Guelph is a collaborative project, with the aim of providing youth ages 12-26 with the support they need to build positive, bright futures. The goal of The Grove is to build a more effective health and social service system, through integration and collaboration, to better meet the needs of youth in Wellington County & Guelph. Hubs include seven locations and feature the benefit of “one door,” with sites networked together. At each site, youth will be given access to programs and services that provide guidance and support for the future. From education and career support, to counselling and peer-to-peer programs, The Grove facilities will provide help and encouragement to every youth in the Community.
The Grove Hubs will include 7 sites throughout Wellington & Guelph:
- The Grove Youth Wellness Hub – Palmerston
- The Grove Youth Wellness Hub – Main Place Youth Centre – Erin
- The Grove Youth Wellness Hub – Fergus
- The Grove Youth Wellness Hub – University of Guelph
- The Grove Wellness Hub – The YMCA of Three Rivers – Guelph Location
- CMHA Waterloo Wellington – North Guelph
- Shelldale Family Gateway
North Simcoe Youth Wellness Hub participates in popular annual Buttertart Festival in Midland, ON.
On June 11th, 2022, the team at the North Simcoe Youth Wellness Hub participated in the annual Buttertart Festival, a very popular food event in Midland, Ontario.
The team held a booth to engage with local youth, families, community members, and organizations to raise awareness about the services offered at the hub.
The North Simcoe Youth Wellness Hubs offers integrated youth services, including mental health and substance use services, primary care, social services, employment and education programs, Indigenous programming, and other supports for the diverse needs of youth in the area.