Stouffville, ON – Since hitting the streets 18 months ago, Ontario’s first and only mobile health clinic for young people has saved at least three lives and is proving how desperately young people want access to mental health supports. Mobile York South Simcoe – MOBYSS for short – is a clinic on wheels for individuals between 12 and 25. It brings service directly to high schools, youth shelters, drop-in and community centres and other places where young people gather.
Aside from the successful suicide interventions, clinic staff have seen a total of 4,170 young people. On average, that’s service for 230 individuals per month.
Services have ranged from mental health assessment, suicide intervention, counselling, sexual health and addictions education, basic primary care and health screening.
More than half of youth served are between 12 and 20 years old. And more than 40 percent of all appointments required mental health counselling.
Most of the interest in mental health service comes from high school-aged individuals.
“What we’re learning is that young people are very self-aware that they need mental health support,” said Rebecca Shields, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, York and South Simcoe Branch. “Our ground-breaking clinic is providing life-saving support for youth in our catchment area. We’d like to see similar initiatives in other communities.”
CMHA launched MOBYSS in May 2015 to serve youth in north Toronto, York Region and southern Simcoe County who have difficulty accessing services because of travel, stigma or other barriers.
MOBYSS is staffed with a nurse practitioner, mental health counsellor and peer support specialist and provides holistic and barrier-free medical, sexual and mental health care seven days a week.
Jane Philpott, MP for Markham-Stouffville and Canada’s Minister of Health, toured MOBYSS today to witness the operation first hand.
“It is important that we treat our mental health like we do our physical health. However, stigma and other barriers often prevent that from happening. MOBYSS is a wonderful example of an innovative solution that improves access to services to young people who may feel isolated or alone and need mental or physical attention,” said Philpott.
- 75 percent of people say their mental illness started in adolescence.
- One in five young people lives with a mental illness.
- Suicide remains the second leading cause of death among young people.
About CMHA York and South Simcoe
The Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region Branch was founded in 1984 and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with mental illnesses. We help people learn how to maintain their mental health, look for and identify the signs of mental illness, and get help and support when they need it. Through several locations across York Region and South Simcoe, we provide a wide range of services to assist individuals with their recovery. Our multi-disciplinary team of professionals are dedicated to assisting people achieve their optimum level of mental health. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), founded in 1918, is one of the oldest voluntary organizations in Canada. Each year, it provides direct service to more than 100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff across Canada in over 135 communities.
For interviews, please contact:
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division
T: 647-537-7161 (call or text)
Constituency Office Manager
Office of the Jane Philpott, M.P. Markham–Stouffville