Existing CMHA Ontario programs indicate that the organization is already aligned with mental health aspects of the summer unveiling of Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services launched Stepping Up to create a common vision, guiding principles, themes and priority outcomes in support of Ontario youth. It is a guide for decision-making, program planning and partnerships so everyone involved in supporting youth between 12 and 25, can work together through a common, overall approach.
The report is based on data, consultations and input from 18 provincial ministries, the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities, partners in the youth-serving sector, young people themselves and Dr. Alvin Curling, the Minister’s Strategic Advisor on Youth Opportunities and co-author of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence report.
The report identifies 20 evidence-based outcomes and related indicators across seven themes that are important to Ontario’s youth. The ministry will track these outcomes and indicators every year, and will report annually on the collective progress.
The themes are:
- health and wellness,
- strong supportive friends & families,
- education, training & apprenticeships,
- employment & entrepreneurship,
- diversity, social inclusion & safety,
- civic engagement and youth leadership,
- coordinated & youth-friendly communities.
Within these themes, many of the 20 priority outcomes relate to mental health and CMHA Ontario is working on initiatives in these areas. For example,
- YouThrive is a free web-based resource for leaders in communities and schools across Ontario that work with youth ages 12-19. YouThrive provides practical and quality information to strengthen protective factors and resiliency among youth, build young people’s health literacy—with a focus on mental health, tobacco use and substance misuse — and address the health inequities that exist among groups of youth in Ontario. YouThrive.ca was created with the support of the Government of Ontario and developed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, CMHA Ontario, The Lung Association, Ophea. See “YouThrive” at: www.youthrive.ca.
- Centre for Innovation on Campus Mental Health, is run by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario in conjunction with Colleges Ontario, the Council of Ontario Universities, the College Student Alliance and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. The Centre will be a place where all organizations can access expert advice on student mental health. It will also provide an online hub of resources and expertise for campus staff, to assist them in helping students deal with mental health issues. Find more information about the Centre at www.ontario.cmha.ca.
- The mental health literacy training module to support after school providers, “Strengthening Children’s Mental Health through After School Programs,” is designed for supervisors to support staff (many of whom are youth) in promoting positive mental health among children.
- Many Ontario CMHA local branches have public education youth outreach programs as well as programs that support families.
See “Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed” at: www.children.gov.on.ca.