The Youth Wellness Hub model offers low-barrier integrated services for youth and young adults in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park.
July 18, 2023 (Toronto, ON) – Today, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) and East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, celebrated the grand opening of the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub.
The Youth Wellness Hub is a bright and welcoming 11,000-square-foot space that provides various integrated walk-in services for youth aged 12 to 25. The Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub will connect youth with barrier-free specialized support services, including mental health assessments, addiction treatment, psychiatrist referrals, as well as education, employment, and housing support. Equipped with digital technology, not only will youth be able to receive services, but they can also use the space to connect with others for virtual care, workshops, education, and career learning.
The Youth Wellness Hub, located at 45 Overlea Blvd. (inside East York Town Centre), strategically sits near Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park, recognizing that these two neighbourhoods are home to a significant proportion of Toronto’s youth and young adult population and have limited mental health and substance use resources. The YWHO and ETHP involved local youth throughout each stage of the development process to ensure the Hub would be as accessible and comfortable as possible for the community’s youth.
The need for the Youth Wellness Hub is especially important because the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened mental health challenges – particularly for children and youth. A recent report from Toronto Public Health found that, in the first year of the pandemic, one in four youth experienced increased depressive symptoms and one in five youth experienced elevated anxiety, representing a 32% increase in experiences of worry and stress.
Hospital data showed emergency department visits related to self-harm among children and youth in Toronto increased from 467 visits in the 15 months before the pandemic to 606 in the 15 months after the pandemic onset.
A diverse range of services is available.
Starting tomorrow (July 19), individuals aged 12 to 25 can visit the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub for a diverse range of in-person and online mental health, wellness and substance use services.
Youth and young adults are welcome to walk in Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They do not need a health card, family doctor or medical referral to access services.
- Mental health and substance use counselling: Staff, including counsellors, mental health workers and therapists, are available to talk to youth about stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use, gender identity and more. No topics are off-limits.
- Case management: Youth are partnered with a healthcare worker to help them access the most meaningful services for their unique health and wellness journey. Together, they’ll create individualized treatment plans that help youth reach their wellness goals, advocate for youth, and monitor their progress.
- Peer support: Peer support workers help youth navigate a health concern, such as a mental health challenge, that they have also lived through. Because they share similar experiences, peer support workers can help youth by providing knowledge and non-judgmental emotional support.
- Care Navigation: Care coordinators connect youth to different services in the community, ensuring youth can access the care they need when most needed.
- Employment services: Staff help youth find and secure job opportunities. In particular, our employment program helps youth who face barriers to work, such as language and technological barriers.
- Primary care and sexual health services: A family physician or nurse practitioner provides youth with prescriptions, sexual health and other medical services.
- Psychiatric consultations: A psychiatrist provides youth with consultations regarding mood changes, medication, and diagnoses.
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills group: Through small groups of like-minded youth, mental health workers empower youth with strategies to navigate thoughts, emotions, and impulses.
- Housing and settlement support: Immigrants and refugees can connect with housing and settlement workers to find relevant local services and programs.
- Drop-in groups and special events: Youth can socialize and engage in recreational programs at the Youth Hub.
The Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub is also home to Trades Connect, a program that offers youth and young adults pathways to careers in construction trades, information technology and industrial transportation, and Food Collaborative, a food bank that provides local families with access to fresh produce, eggs, dairy products and culturally appropriate food. Both of these programs are operated by TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization.
LOFT Community Services will be working alongside these other ETHP member organizations to provide services at the Youth Wellness Hub:
- Flemingdon Health Centre
- Garry Hurvitz Centre for Community Mental Health at SickKids
- Health Access Thorncliffe Park
- Michael Garron Hospital
- Strides Toronto
- TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization
LOFT is honoured to work among an inspiring group of community leaders and organizations to create a safe and empowering space for youth and young adults to receive the support they need most at their own pace.
More information about the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub is available at ethp.ca/ThorncliffeYWHO, youthhubs.ca/en/thorncliffe-park-youth-wellness-hub and instagram.com/ThorncliffeYouthHub.