Ontario Expanding Mental Health Services for Children and Youth in Every Corner of the Province
Updated: Jan 27
KING-VAUGHAN — The Ontario government is investing $4.75 million to expand the “One Stop Talk” virtual “walk-in” counselling program to connect children, youth and their families with more convenient and timely ways to access mental health counselling no matter where they live.
“As part of our plan, we are making it easier and more convenient for children and youth in King and Vaughan to access mental health care by investing $4.75 million to expand “One Stop Talk”, a virtual walk-in program that provides access to mental health counselling by phone, video, text and chat. It’s another way we are building mental health supports — including a 420% increase in school-based mental health supports, to ensure our youth are supported and set up for success,” said Stephen Lecce, MPP for King-Vaughan.
“Our government is making it easier and more convenient for children and youth in every corner of the province to access mental health care,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This program offers modern, convenient options for youth to connect to help in ways that they’re used to communicating.”
The “One Stop Talk” service offers convenient ways to talk to a clinician by phone, video conference, text and chat without an appointment. The program began as a pilot in November 2022 with six participating mental health organizations and is now being expanded to additional organizations and their waitlisted patients. When fully implemented, the program will eventually be available to all children, youth and their families.
The government is also significantly expanding the number of Youth Wellness Hubs across the province to make it faster and easier for young people to connect to mental health and substance use support, primary care, social services, and more. Through the Addictions Recovery Fund, the government is adding eight new youth wellness hubs to the 14 that were created since 2020, bringing the total to 22 across the province.
These hubs help fill the gap in youth addictions services and also provide children and youth aged 12 to 25 a range of other services, such as vocational support, education services, housing and recreation and wellness.
“Through our Roadmap to Wellness, we are focused on fixing our complicated and disjointed mental health and addictions care system once and for all,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Significantly expanding our network of Youth Wellness Hubs is one more way we’re creating a system where Ontarians of all ages have convenient access to the highest-quality mental health and addictions supports, when and where they need them.”
Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness plan – the province’s mental health and addictions strategy – has so far provided $525 million to use innovative solutions to improve the quality and access to mental health supports while shortening wait times and removing gaps in service. The plan is built on four central pillars – improving quality, expanding existing services, implementing innovative solutions and improving access – that are designed to work together to support the delivery of the services people need, where and when they need them.
The eight new Youth Wellness Hubs will be in Algoma Region, Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington, London-Middlesex, Sagamok Anishnabek First Nation, Sarnia-Lambton, Sudbury, Thorncliffe Park, and West Toronto.
One of these new Youth Wellness Hubs will be located at Sagamok Anishnabek First Nation and will offer culturally safe and appropriate primary care, mental health and addictions services to Indigenous youth in and around that community
Ontario’s mental health and addictions strategy, Roadmap to Wellness, was released in March 2020. It sets out a vision for an Ontario where everyone has access to high quality mental health and addictions treatment and support, when and where they need it.
The Roadmap was developed from the ground up, based on conversations with Ontarians.
Once fully implemented, the One Stop Talk service will provide immediate, low barrier access to brief counselling services through a single virtual access point from anywhere in the province.
"Children’s Mental Health Ontario is pleased to see this investment in child and youth mental health. Children, youth, and their families are waiting too long to get the supports they need and the expansion of One Stop Talk, designed and driven by community-based child and youth mental health agencies, will play a role in reducing those wait times and improving access to care."
- Tatum Wilson CEO, Children’s Mental Health Ontario
"Millions of Ontarians struggle with their mental health or substance use every year. Investing in improving access to supports is critical – especially for our children and youth. It is also critical that we continue to advance the work of the Roadmap to Wellness. We look forward to continuing to work with the Ontario government to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addiction system in Ontario."
- Alisha Tharani CEO, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
"The walk in, low-barrier services offered through Youth Wellness Hubs are critical in improving Ontario’s mental health and addiction services for youth and their families. These additional sites will ensure more young people across the province receive the help and support they need."
- Camille Quenneville CEO Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division
"We are pleased to be a part of a province-wide, system-level response to meet the mental health crisis. In addition to providing in the moment care, One Stop Talk/Parlons maintenant connects young people to local services when needed. We are excited to scale the program so that young people across the province will benefit, and we thank the Ministry of Health and our Lead Agency Consortium partners for their support in bringing this vision to reality."
- Janet McCrimmon President and CEO, Strides Toronto
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