The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), York Region and South Simcoe Branch has developed a new approach to addressing youth mental health. The branch announced Ontario’s first mobile mental health clinic for people between the ages of 12-25. Named MOBYSS for Mobile York South Simcoe (pronounced “mobies”), the mobile mental health clinic will enable workers to reach youth who previously had difficulty accessing services due to travel, stigma or other barriers. MOBYSS will go to places where young people spend time such as malls, schools and skate parks.
“Think of an RV covered in graffiti; a modified doctor’s office on wheels,” Rebecca Shields, CEO of CMHA York and South Simcoe, told local media recently. “This project is so very important. Early intervention with the right supports affords the best opportunity for good outcomes.”
Once fully operational in the spring 2015, the clinic will serve more than 2,000 youth per year. Youth will be able to use the MOBYSS app to check the clinic schedule, route and GPS location, book and confirm appointments, and digitally connect with the clinic and access links to other supports and services.
The clinic team will include a nurse practitioner, a youth mental health worker and a peer support worker. They will provide assessment, suicide intervention, counselling, referral, sexual health and addictions education and support, basic primary care and health screening. A youth advisory committee will help ensure that services remain relevant.
CMHA York and South Simcoe is also partnering up with other agencies, York Regional Police and hospitals to help ensure a smooth transition between services.