A Letter from Dr. Jo Henderson: Reflecting on YWHO in 2022

I wanted to reflect as we wrap up 2022 – an incredible year of growth and evolution for Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario. Recognizing that we are still in our infancy with lots of plans in place for 2023, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the milestones and the success of YWHO teams from this year.

The year started off with a lot of questions, as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was spreading quickly and service providers across YWHO youth hubs were still pivoting to provide safe mental health support to young people. Despite these ongoing obstacles of the pandemic, 2022 has been very positive for the YWHO initiative overall.

As a “network of networks”, we’ve grown from 14 to 22 local YWHO networks thanks to additional funding from the Ontario government to launch eight new networks. Now, YWHO will be providing integrated youth services to over 30 communities across the province. In addition, some of our hubs that pushed back their launches due to the pandemic officially opened their doors to youth and families, including Timmins, Renfrew County, Windsor-Essex, and more.

In terms of support, YWHO introduced more developmentally and culturally responsive programming for young people. We launched new and improved programs, trainings, engagement opportunities, grants, data implementation methods, and more. As a learning health system (LHS), this evidence- and measurement-based work supported our continuous efforts to improve services for youth.

Nationally, there were huge strides in the pan-Canadian space alongside significant announcements that will transform our country’s youth mental health sector. From launching the Federation of Integrated Youth Services (FIYSN) to a funding announcement in November from Minister Bennett to support IYS-Net and data initiatives, there is momentum heading into 2023.

None of this incredible work to support young people would be possible without the ongoing support and commitment of youth, families, service providers, communities leaders and organizations, YWHO networks and staff, and our government and philanthropic partners.. Together, we are creating a movement that is transforming the youth mental health sector in Canada and saving lives now and in the future.

Thank you for all your support this year. We look forward to continuing this work together in 2023.

Thank you.

Dr. Jo Henderson
Executive Director of Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario
Director of Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health
Senior Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex Launches Fundraising Campaign and Announces $1M Gift

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 – Windsor, ON

The Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex team officially launched their $5 million fundraising campaign on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, and announced their first gift – a $1 million lead gift from the Solcz Family Foundation.

The purpose of the fundraising campaign is to support the build of the permanent Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex site. This is now closer to reality thanks to the generosity and support of the Windsor-Essex community.

The new 10,000 square foot youth-friendly space will be located at 215 Eugenie Ave., and will offer integrated mental health and substance use services for youth aged 12 to 25. The team will also provide primary health care, employment and housing supports, and recreational and educational activities.


Operational funding has been provided by the Ontario government. This fundraising campaign will help bring the Youth Wellness Hub to life by further supporting the creation of a youth-friendly environment, programming, and the development of satellite sites in Essex County.

“The Solcz Family Foundation is proud to support Windsor’s first Youth Wellness Hub—a space that is safe and barrier-free, providing our local youth with a multitude of services all under one roof in a warm and welcoming space designed for youth by youth,” says Kyrsten Solcz of the Solcz Family Foundation.

“We hope our community will join us by supporting this wonderful cause to help bring the right services to our youth at the right time and in the right place.”

Kim Willis, Director of Communications and Mental Health Promotion, CMHW-WECB, notes that more funds will need to be raised and that community support is vital.

“We are most grateful to the Solcz family for their amazing support and generosity. The Youth Wellness Hub is a game-changer for our community and something that youth and families have wanted for several years. In recognition of their support this location will be known as the Solcz Family Foundation site,” Willis says.

She added that the reality is our youth are struggling. At the Youth Wellness Hub, there is immediate support available through walk-in support services available and no referral. The Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex opened a temporary location at Maryvale in March 2022. Since then, 213 youth have visited the location almost 1,000 times. The new site will improve services and the experience for those accessing services.

Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex has been supported in various ways by many community partners, including the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Maryvale, Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, New Beginnings, The Inn of Windsor, the United Way, and more. Willis says the hope is more businesses, individuals and organizations will get involved, and all donations will receive a charitable tax receipt.

Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex Partners

For more information:

Youth Wellness Hub Windsor-Essex
Kim Willis, Director of Communications and Mental Health Promotion, CMHW-WECB
(226) 787-2245
(519) 255-9940 x161

Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario Provincial Office
Stephanie La Brie, Senior Communications Advisor

NEWS: Algoma Region Youth Wellness Hubs Location Announced

July 29, 2022

On Friday, July 29, Ali Juma, CEO of Algoma Family Services formally announced the new site of the Algoma Region Youth Wellness Hub thanks to the contributions of community funders and partners.

Through an unprecedented level of collaboration between community partners to establish a Youth Wellness Hub, Algoma Family Services (AFS) will lease the building on behalf of their partners from the SSM Housing Corporation.

The hub will be located at the former International Order of Odd Fellows Lodge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The goal is to open the Hub this fall or winter. However, the building requires extensive repair and renovation.

Since 1951, this Lodge has played a key role in the community through the community service of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) and the AFS team are thrilled to have such a great space for youth, and are pleased this building will continue to serve the community for hopefully decades to come.

As one of the 8 new YWHO sites announced by the Ontario government this February, Algoma Region will join the network of the 14 established hubs across Ontario. The team will operate initially for five days a week and provide the following services:

  • Mental Health / Substance Use Counselling
  • Health Promotion
  • Employment Counselling
  • Food security
  • Housing and Income Support
  • Cultural and LGBTQ2+ Support
  • Anti-Human Trafficking
  • Child Protection

Algoma Region’s team plans to grow the services offered at the hub and to be open seven days a week, and the hub has extended an open
invitation to community partners and community groups servicing youth to work with the team.

Algoma community partners include: the Canadian Mental Health Association – Algoma, Algoma Public Health, John Howard Society, the Indian Friendship Centre, THRIVE Child Development Centre, the Children’s Aid Society of Algoma, Northern Youth Services, the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services Administration Board, and YWHO. Community partners will be contributing in-kind staff, services, and financial resources where available to support the Hub. Information sessions for the neighbours and surrounding businesses will be provided later to ensure the hub we develop will add value to the immediate community and create a mechanism to address any concerns or issues that come up.

Youth will play a central role in the co-creation and design of the space here, as well as the services and programs to be offered. The hub will be a culturally safe place for youth ages 12-25 years of age to find the help they need, to connect with other youth, to learn about the services available to them, and to create a better tomorrow.

Video: Sault Online ONNtv

For the full media package prepared by Algoma Family Services, click here.

For more information, please contact: 
YWHO Communications Team

NEWS: The Rockland Youth Wellness Hub team opens additional outreach site for youth services in Embrun, Ontario

On May 13, 2022, the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) team supporting the Rockland & Prescott-Russell community opened the doors of a new outreach site.

In addition to their main location, Rockland Youth Wellness Hub, and their Hawkesbury outreach site, the team has now opened a new outreach site in Embrun, Ontario. The team will offer services every second Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for youth aged 12 to 25 with walk-in or booked appointments available.

The additional outreach site provides more youth with the ability to access the right services in the right place at the right time. Youth and families in the Embrun area can receive a range of integrated youth services, including mental health and substance use support, peer support, care coordination, and more.

The Rockland & PR Youth Wellness Hub team now provide services at:

  • Rockland & PR Youth Wellness Hub – 1517 Laurier St., Rockland, ON
  • Hawkesbury Outreach Site – Mental Health and Addiction Regional Centre, 580 Spence Ave, Hawkesbury, ON
  • Embrun Outreach Site – 649 Notre Dame St., Unit 203, Embrun, ON

Please check the @Rocklandyouthhub social media channels for more information, dates and times, services, and how to get in contact.

Phone: +1 613-577-7219
Email: easternchamplain@youthhubs.ca

NEWS: Ontario Expanding Access to Student Mental Health Supports

*Information below is from the official Government of Ontario press release.*

On April 1, 2022, the Ontario government announced new funding to support students with expanded access to targeted mental health and well-being programs. Ontario’s investments will help create new or sustain existing mental health and well-being programs and resources led by community organizations.

The investments, which are part of the government’s Priorities and Partnerships Funding COVID-19 Equity Supports, include $92,105 to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to gain a better understanding of substance use trends — including the effect of substance use on school participation — on school-aged youth from an equity perspective.

Funding will also go toward resources for those working with youth who are disconnected from school due to substance use difficulties in order to support their re-engagement with the school system.

“This is a critically important initiative because we know that youth with substance use difficulties face disproportionate challenges in school contexts, and there is more we can do to provide effective supports. By hearing directly from impacted youth, we will be better able to build meaningful solutions that reflect the diversity of Ontario’s youth.”
– Dr. Joanna Henderson, Director, Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health; Senior Scientist, Child, Youth and Emerging Adult Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; Executive Director, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario

To access the official news release, click here.