CMHA York Region and South Simcoe now offers an innovative way to meet the confidential health-care needs of youth in a safe, non-judgmental environment. The CMHA branch launched a first-of-its-kind mobile clinic last week, disguised as a graffiti-tagged RV. The mobile clinic has been named MOBYSS for Mobile York South Simcoe (pronounced mo-bies). It will help youth overcome barriers to accessing services including mental health, sexual health and medical services by offering a welcoming environment and confidential and culturally appropriate services. 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.
CMHA York and South Simcoe CEO Rebecca Shields told the Toronto Star that the program’s inception began after the agency held community consultations two years ago and learned that addressing the region’s lack of mental health services for youth was a top priority for its members.
“Our greatest tragedy is the loss of young lives to mental illness, addiction and suicide,” said Shields. “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 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.
The vehicle was made possible through grants from the 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.