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Youth Wellness and the Wellness Centre at St. Joseph's in Hamilton

Nayab Ahmad
There is no doubt that youth have an important role to play for each generation. It is throughout our youth that much of our values are cultivated and the beginnings of conversations regarding education and future are had. As such, youth wellness is a topic of much relevance and importance to society. Many efforts are made by neighbourhoods to ensure that there are enough resources present for the youth to rely upon. Hamilton itself has taken initiative in providing youth with a place of their own. Specifically, the Wellness Centre at St. Joseph's Hamilton Healthcare is at the forefront in providing youth with mental health resources in the Hamilton area.

ywc hamilton Located in downtown Hamilton, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton's Youth Wellness Centre provides care to adolescents aged 17 to 25 suffering from mental health problems. Services provided by the centre include: counselling, assessments, family support, psychiatric counselling along with other community mental health services. Services offered to clients are based on their own recovery plan and personal needs.

The Wellness Centre offers two streams of support: Early Intervention and Transition Support. Early Intervention is aimed at adolescents facing newly emerging addiction concerns and mental health problems. In Ontario, up until the age of 18, a person is entitled to child and teen mental health services. Once that individual turns 18, they need to transition to using adult mental health services. St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton's Youth and Wellness centre provides Transition Support which is aimed at helping young individuals progressing from teen to adult mental health services.

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton has also launched the #ReachOut Campaign in March 2015. The Campaign is comprised of an art exhibition to promote St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton's Youth Wellness Centre and the services they offer for mental health problems. The art presented at the #ReachOut Exhibition illustrates individual stories of how the Youth Wellness Centre helped them deal with their mental health issues. The aim of the exhibition is to break down the walls around mental health in the Hamilton community and foster young people to #ReachOut. The exhibition is currently located in St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Youth Wellness Centre.

reachout Although well into the 21st century, there remains a taboo around mental illness in that it is not an openly discussed topic. The subject is even more obscure with regards to the youth population. According to the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, approximately 1 in 5 youth in Ontario suffer from mental health problems. Furthermore, almost 70% of mental issues have an early onset during childhood and youth. This is why youth wellness centres like St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton's Youth Wellness Centre are so crucial to the well being of youth. It is centres like these that allow for the early identification and treatment of mental health problems which undoubtedly lead to improved health outcomes later on in life.
Nayab Ahmad April 25, 2016

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