Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo by: IYSN Facebook page.
A hub for youth aged 12 to 26 years old, to combat mental health issues is set to open in Palmerston soon.
The hub will be made possible through the Integrated Youth Service Network (IYSN), along with many service organizations and volunteers, that all have a common goal in mind.
Jessica Martin with Minto Mental Health says it’s to bring a new standard of care, support and services for our youth.
Martin says the goal of the initiative is to have, “seven micro sites, but with one door,” within Wellington County and Guelph.
Martin says these sites are developed and designed to meet a wide range of needs including mental health, substance use, primary care, education, employment, training, housing, and other community and social services.
Martin says about 70 per cent of mental health problems in Ontario have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
“And along with that, 34 per cent of Ontario high schoolers indicated a moderate to severe level of psychological distress, so symptoms of anxiety and depression, and then those are only growing, those statistics were before COVID-19,” Martin said.
She says COVID-19 is presenting a whole new challenge for youth in those ages that they are trying to provide services for.
She says the alarming statistics are what prompted the Rotary Club of Guelph to get over 30 different organizations together to make this site possible, as well as 6 others.
Martin says when our youth walk into the Wellington North site in Palmerston and tell their story, they won’t have to tell it twice if they move to Guelph, for example.
“It’s exhausting for our youth and it’s traumatizing to have to tell your story over, and over again, you see new people, or you move to new spots, we want to eliminate that stress because getting the help is one of the hardest first steps,” Martin said.
Martin says this will all be made possible by an encrypted database that the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is working on with them.
She adds 6,000 square feet will be added to the Beehive in Centre Wellington as another hub, come Spring 2021, four sites are set to open in Guelph by 2022, and there’s already an active hub in the Town of Erin.
She adds that the IYSN hub in Palmerston will be located at the former Solutions building in town, and it’s gearing up to open by the end of December, or early January, at the latest.