Help Ahead is a referral service that connects young people up to the age of 18 and their families to the most appropriate community-based mental health agency. Our goal is to help those in need find and get mental health help as efficiently and quickly as possible. Help Ahead is a partnership between Toronto’s 26 community-based mental health agencies serving infants, children, youth and their families.
Help Ahead Executive Advisory Committee
Help Ahead is governed by an Executive Advisory Committee, which provides insight and ensures the service is following best practices and responding effectively to the mental health system in Toronto. The committee reflects a diversity of experience in areas such as the intake and referral process, partnerships, and similar services. Members are:
- (Co-Chair) Heather Sproule, Executive Director, Central Toronto Youth Services
- (Co-Chair) David Willis, Director, Toronto’s Lead Agency for Children’s Mental Health, System Transformation
- Janice Hayes, Executive Director, YouthLink
- Laurie Marsan, Director, Clinical Services, Child Development Institute
- Emma Turner, Clinical Supervisor, Lumenus
Urban Tele-Mental Health
Facilitated by the Healthcare Partnership Table, Urban Tele-Mental Health is a three-year pilot project between Strides Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children that provides children and youth up to age 18, families, and their mental health practitioners access to psychiatrists through live video conferencing. As part of a step care approach, the purpose of Urban Tele-Mental Health is to extend the availability of psychiatric consultations in underserved areas of Toronto. Strides Toronto acts as the coordinating agency, supporting pathways, access, and referrals to the service. To be eligible, clients must be assessed by a primary healthcare provider or community mental health worker who has sufficient knowledge of the client and can follow up on recommendations.
What’s Up Walk-In®
What’s Up Walk-In is a collaboration between four Core Service Providers across Toronto that offer walk-in counselling service for children, youth, young adults, and families. It is community-based, city-wide, free, and open up to six days a week. Established in 2011, the service is available to the City of Toronto and aims to increase equitable access to evidence-based, brief, solution-focused, mental health services.
The What’s Up Walk-In locations across the city of Toronto are located at:
Every What’s Up Walk-In location is part of a continuum of services and applies a stepped care approach through seamless transitions to ongoing counselling, groups, intensive services, youth outreach workers, school-based programs, residential treatment, and psychiatry through Urban Tele-Mental Health. Each What’s Up Walk-In location hosts partnerships that offer specialized services such as drug and alcohol treatment, counselling staff that specialize in youth justice issues, and pathways to adult services.
Our Core Service Providers
The Lead Agency work is done in collaboration with Toronto’s 24 Core Service Providers, which are community-based mental health centres that serve infants, children, youth and families. Together, we are transforming the sector to create a coordinated, responsive, and accessible mental health system.