Windsor-Essex receives provincial funding for new Youth Wellness Hub

The province is providing more than $31 million to help improve access to specialized mental health treatment services, reduce waitlists and wait times, and support the mental health and well-being of children and youth. (File)

Thanks to a funding boost from the Ontario government, a wellness hub is coming to Windsor-Essex as a ‘one-stop shop’ for youth to access mental health services.

Windsor-Essex is one of four new sites in Ontario to receive a total of $2.7 million from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in annualized operating funds for the new Youth Wellness Hub.

“We are very excited to see an investment in mental health services in our local community for youth. This is a critical time to ensure supports are put in place to address the needs of this population as we consider the impacts of virtual learning and the experience of isolation due to the on-going pandemic,” Krista Rempel, executive director of the Bridge Youth Resource Centre, said in a news release.

Minister of health Christine Elliott and associate minister of mental health and additions Michael Tibollo made the announcement Tuesday.

“We are most grateful to the provincial government for this investment in youth. These funds will provide essential operating funds for our Youth Wellness Hub,” Claudia den Boer, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex branch, said.

The release says before the pandemic there were already “inadequate supports” for children and youth’s mental health, and now after living through increased isolation and the uncertainty of the pandemic the situation is “event more troubling.”

According to a study led by SickKids hospital study about 70 per cent of youth between the ages of six and 18 have experienced either depression, irritability, obsessions and compulsions, and a lower attention span during the pandemic.

The new Youth Wellness Hub aims to meet the mental health needs of local youth. Windsor-Essex CMHA, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Maryvale, The Bridge, and Windsor Essex Community Health Care (WECHC) will work together along with families to design the hub.

Fundraising has also started to help support capital requirements for the new hub.

“This is very good news,” said Connie Martin, Maryvale executive director. “This will be a one stop shop where teens and young adults will be encouraged and get help from a number of organizations with the struggles they are facing.”