March 2015

Greetings everyone!  As I sit in my office, I am wondering when spring will arrive.  It has been a cold and dark winter and while we are promised that spring is just around the corner there are times when it feels as though the darkness and coldness of winter will never end.  These feelings made me stop and think about people who suffer from mental illnesses and how they must feel.  I have contemplated how it must feel dark and cold for them many days.  And I wonder, what could be done to make things better.   

Recently you may have heard about the Ministry’s investment in local mental health and addictions organizations. On February 25th Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced that $28 million will be invested into these agencies across the province. This funding allows people who suffer from mental illness to receive the care they need closer to home and faster than ever before.   

We know that allowing people to receive help sooner - getting care and support in place as quickly as possible helps them cope with their illness and quite possibly will ensure better outcomes for the long term.

A good example of  this sort of program is the new Youth Wellness Centre (YWC) developed by St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH), which opened its doors to its first clients on Wednesday, March 11, and had its opening celebrated as part of the 2015 Hamilton Art Crawl with #ReachOut Hamilton.

The YWC focuses on serving youths experiencing signs of mental health and/or addictions difficulties for the first time. The Youth Wellness Centre educates youth and their families on the signs and symptoms of mental health and addictions problems, so that they can recognize when they or someone needs extra care and support. Staff provides guidance on how to address the mental health challenges patients are facing and prepare them to navigate the care system as they become adults.

Located in downtown Hamilton, the YWC serves youth aged 17 to 24 through referrals and will assist these youth through multiple programs. Those who are referred to the YWC will receive complete assessments to help determine the proper support each individual needs.

For more information about the Youth Wellness Centre please contact Program Manager Lisa Jeffs by telephone at 905-522-1155 Ext. 36238. To learn more about the LHIN’s work on mental health and additions, please visit our website.

If you or your organization would like to be featured in a future blog or share a patient story in one of our Voices in the Community videos you can reach us through our office, or if you’re on social media via our Twitter handle - @HNHB_LHINgage. Your feedback and questions are always welcome!