(Toronto – May 4, 2015) – The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, today marked Mental Health Week (May 4 to 10) at Queen’s Park by unveiling Ontario’s first roving comprehensive health clinic for youth. The mobile clinic was developed by CMHA York and South Simcoe and has been named MOBYSS for Mobile York South Simcoe (pronounced mo-bies). It will help youth overcome barriers to accessing all health services including mental, medical and sexual health by offering a welcoming, confidential and culturally appropriate service. The clinic – painted in graffiti-style graphics – will be on the road six days a week, reaching out to youth where they gather, such as malls, college campuses and skate parks.
“Our greatest tragedy is the loss of young lives to mental illness, addiction and suicide,” said Rebecca Shields, Chief Executive Officer of CMHA York and South Simcoe. “We are excited about how this transformational clinic brings together a range of community services and partners to tackle barriers to helping youth in need. Simply making it easy for them to get in the door is a critical first step.”
The drop-in clinic is staffed with nurse practitioners, youth mental health workers and peer support counselors. The clinic can help youth with a broad range of concerns including if they are feeling down, anxious, dealing with drugs and alcohol, minor injuries or illness. The clinic provides assessments, counseling, suicide intervention, sexual health education, basic primary care, and medical screening. Partnerships with other agencies and local hospitals through the Ontario Telemedicine Network will provide holistic support and seamlessly transition these young people to community services.
“This mobile clinic is an important step forward to improving equity and access to quality health services. This is a great example of an innovative initiative that puts patients first – bringing care directly to the youth who need it most,” said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins.
The clinic will also rely on youth-friendly mobile technology – from a mobile site that tracks its location and offers resources, to booking and reminders for appointments via text. A youth advisory committee will ensure that services remain relevant and client-centered. Once fully operational, the clinic will serve over 2,000 youth per year.
“MOBYSS is a great way for youth to connect with community support in an easy-to-access and safe space. It will empower youth to take charge of their own mental health,” said Alexandra Trottier, a York Region resident and CMHA volunteer pursuing graduate studies in psychology.
The vehicle was made possible through grants from the Province’s Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Central Local Health Integration Network as well as through local fundraising from Docs on Ice and the Royal Bank of Canada.
About the Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region and South Simcoe
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) works toward a single mission as the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness. Serving over 16,400 individuals in their community every year, CMHA provides a range of services and supports. MOBYSS is a flagship program of their innovative and transformational strategy to ensure that all youth in York Region and South Simcoe are prepared to care for their mental health, know where to for support and have rapid access to services for their mental illness.
For more information, contact:
CMHA York Region and South Simcoe, CEO
T 905-841-3977 ext. 2201