July 18, 2023 (Toronto, ON) – Today, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) and East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, celebrated the grand opening of the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub.
The Youth Wellness Hub is a bright and welcoming 11,000-square-foot space that provides a variety of integrated walk-in services for youth aged 12 to 25, including mental health and substance use supports, employment and settlement services, trades training and social programs.
It is located in the heart of Thorncliffe Park at 45 Overlea Blvd. (inside East York Town Centre) and was designed in collaboration by and for local youth.
The Youth Wellness Hub supports youth and young adults in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park, two neighbourhoods that are home to some of the highest concentrations of individuals under the age of 25 in Toronto and where there is low access to mental health and substance use services despite high levels of need.
This is especially important because the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened mental health challenges – particularly for children and youth. A recent report from Toronto Public Health found that, in the first year of the pandemic, one in four youth experienced increased depressive symptoms. One in five experienced elevated anxiety, representing a 32% increase in experiences of worry and stress.
Hospital data showed emergency department visits related to self-harm among children and youth in Toronto increased from 467 visits in the 15 months before the pandemic to 606 visits in the 15 months after pandemic onset.
Diverse range of services available
Starting tomorrow (July 19), the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub offers a diverse range of in-person and online mental health, wellness and substance use services for individuals aged 12 to 25.
Youth and young adults are welcome to walk in Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They do not need a health card, family doctor or medical referral to access services.
- Mental health and substance use counselling: Staff, including counsellors, mental health workers and therapists, are available to talk to youth about stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use, gender identity and more. No topics are off limits.
- Case management: A healthcare worker helps guide and connect youth to different services during their health and wellness journey. They create individualized treatment plans that help youth reach their wellness goals, advocate for youth and monitor their progress.
- Peer support: Peer support workers offer youth support for a health concern, such as a mental health challenge, that they have also lived through. Because they share similar experiences, peer support workers are able to help youth by providing knowledge, emotional support and more.
- Care navigation: Care coordinators connect youth to different services in the community. This helps ensure youth are able to get the care they need when they need it.
- Employment services: Staff help youth find and secure job opportunities. In particular, our employment program helps youth who face barriers to work, such as language and technological barriers.
- Primary care and sexual health services: A family physician or nurse practitioner provides youth with prescriptions, sexual health and other medical services.
- Psychiatric consultations: A psychiatrist provides youth with consultations regarding mood changes, medication, and diagnoses.
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills group: In a group setting, mental health workers teach skills to help youth cope more effectively with intense emotions or stress in their lives.
- Housing and settlement support: Housing and settlement workers are available to assist newcomers, including immigrants and refugees, access local services and programs.
- Drop-in groups and special events: Youth can spend time at the Youth Hub, where they will socialize and engage in recreational programs.
The Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub is also home to Trades Connect, a program that offers youth and young adults pathways to careers in construction trades, information technology and industrial transportation; and Food Collaborative, a food bank that provides local families with access to fresh produce, eggs, dairy products and culturally appropriate food. Both of these programs are operated by TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization.
The following ETHP member organizations work together to provide services at the Youth Wellness Hub:
- Flemingdon Health Centre
- Garry Hurvitz Centre for Community Mental Health at SickKids
- Health Access Thorncliffe Park
- LOFT Community Services
- Michael Garron Hospital
- Strides Toronto
- TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization
More information about the Thorncliffe Park Youth Wellness Hub is available at ethp.ca/ThorncliffeYWHO, youthhubs.ca/en/thorncliffe-park-youth-wellness-hub and instagram.com/ThorncliffeYouthHub.