Of the nearly 3,000 youth who accessed virtual YWHO services from April to June 2020, 98 per cent said they would recommend the service to a friend. For Alex, a Youth Advisory Council Member for YWHO, the Niagara hub has been life-changing.
“The Youth Wellness Hub in Niagara gave me access to mental health services that are extremely youth friendly and helped my recovery in a huge way,” said Alex. “It has changed my life in an extremely positive way and I can’t express how truly thankful I am that it is here for youth like me.”
The virtual expansion of YWHO’s services is timely amidst increasing mental health demands and barriers to in-person care as Ontario navigates the third wave of the pandemic.
“We’re over a year into the pandemic and we’re seeing that levels of anxiety, depression and loneliness are as high as they were in May 2020,” added Dr. Joanna Henderson, Director of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health and Executive Director of YWHO. “RBC’s gift enables YWHO to enhance its virtual support for youth anywhere and whenever they need it. I feel privileged to work on this critically important initiative with such a dedicated team of young people at YWHO, and our longtime corporate partners at RBC.”
Specifically, the gift will support the development of YWHO’s virtual platform, which will be an innovative one-stop-shop co-designed by CAMH alongside young people, family members, service providers, e-health scholars and government. The platform will provide a range of fully integrated, developmentally appropriate youth services, while amplifying and delivering supports and services for young people living in remote or rural areas.
“We now have a place where we feel welcome and not judged. If we can get the help we need, then we will have better connections with family and friends, do better in school, get jobs, and be healthier in every way. That is good for us as youth, and for the entire community,” said one visitor at the YWHO site in Eastern Champlain.
Since 2017, the YWHO model has shown promise in reducing demand for in-hospital care, and has given youth access to services before emergency care is needed–preventing nearly 600 emergency visits over two years. Supporting the development of this new virtual platform ensures that new youth-focused virtual services reflect the principles and values essential to youth mental illness and addictions system transformation, and are interwoven seamlessly with in-person services.
The YWHO virtual expansion provides an important opportunity for RBC and CAMH to continue collaborating in support of young people across Ontario.
“Our commitment to youth mental well-being is focused on prevention and early intervention programs that help provide young people timely access to knowledge, supports and care, when and where they need it,” said Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC. “We are incredibly proud of our three-decade partnership with CAMH, which has empowered so many young Canadians to have the best chance of succeeding in life by offering the right supports at the right time.”
RBC’s dedication to CAMH and leadership as a corporate advocate for mental health has changed thousands of lives. This most recent gift is part of the RBC Future Launch program, a larger initiative aimed at empowering Canadian youth. To date, RBC has donated more than $8 million to CAMH, including contributions to two state-of-the-art buildings that opened in 2020.
About RBC Future Launch
RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500 million commitment to empower Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. With a focus on networking, skills development, practical work experience and mental wellbeing supports and services, the initiative aims to help break down the barriers facing young people. In 2020, RBC committed to providing $50 million in focused funding through RBC Future Launch to create meaningful and transformative pathways to prosperity for up to 25,000 BIPOC youth by 2025, with investments in areas such as skills development and mentoring.