The Mental Health and Addictions Health Hub for Children and Youth in North Grenville (the Hub) is pleased to report that progress on increasing access to services has continued at a steady pace since the opening of a weekly walk-in clinic in Kemptville on April 17, 2019.

On June 5, 2019, the 20-partner Hub collaborative held a visioning exercise, which was well-attended by Hub partners as well as by an enthusiastic group of youth.  The group began the process of crafting a Mission, Vision and set of Values for the Hub. The resulting Mission is “a community working together to strengthen mental health and addictions services and promote mental wellbeing to support children, youth and families in North Grenville”; the vision is of “a community where children, youth and families are healthy and have the life skills to achieve their full potential,” and the Hub’s values are collaboration, youth and family centred care, compassion, and youth friendly environments.

The Hub’s Project Lead, Joanne Desormeaux, commented on the important contributions of the young adults who participated in the development of the Mission, Vision and Values.  “Having youth involved in our visioning exercise really allowed our young people to have a voice and identify what is important to them,” she said. “This activity was a first great stepping stone to more fully engaging with youth at all levels of the Hub.”

On July 18, 2019, the CEO of Kemptville District Hospital (KDH), Frank J. Vassallo, presented a new Ipad to Mathew Dicsi, a student at St. Michael Catholic High School in Kemptville, whose name was randomly drawn from all submissions to a North Grenville-wide contest for children and youth to name the Hub. The Hub name itself will shortly be chosen on a consensus basis by the Collaborative partners; the new name is expected to be announced at the end of October, 2019.

Frank Vassallo presents tablet to Mathew Dicsi

The first new service introduced by the Hub collaborative, the walk-in clinic continues to serve North Grenville children and youth every Wednesday from 11am to 7pm. Housed at the Kemptville location of Hub partner Children’s Mental Health of Leeds and Grenville (CMHLG), the clinic is for children and youth 18 and under who are looking to work toward a solution to a problem or concern; their families are welcome. The clinic offers each child, youth and family an appointment with a counsellor to focus on behavioural, emotional and/or mental health concerns. If additional services, such as psychiatry consultations, are required, CMHLG will facilitate that. The walk-in clinic is in addition to the full range of counselling services available at CMHLG. For more information, please call CMHLG at 1-800-809-2494.

Statistics on the use of the walk-in clinic are now available for April through June 2019. The data shows that clients of the clinic ranged in age from 4 to 17 years, with one-third of clients being 10 and under, and two-thirds 13 and over. 100 percent of the client seen in the clinic felt heard during their session, and 75 percent felt hopeful after their conversation with the counsellor.

“We are very encouraged that the walk-in clinic is increasing access to mental health services for children and youth in North Grenville,” said Lorena Crosbie, Executive Director of CMHLG.  “We still have capacity to see more clients, whether they self-refer or are referred by another service provider such as their family doctor.”

In between counselling sessions with CMHLG and/or while waiting for a referral, children and youth can talk to the Hub Navigator, Kris Van de Ven, as often as every day if they need to.  Van de Ven also works for Connect Youth, a Hub partner that helps and supports youth with a variety of challenges in addition to mental health and addictions, including employment and housing.

A client recently explained how they are helped by the services Connect Youth offers. “Every day I go to their drop-in centre and am greeted by smiling faces. I get food to nourish the body and laughter to nourish the heart. Connect Youth helped to put me in contact with a counsellor. There are always people that I can go to when I need to talk. Connect Youth has helped me through tough times but also was part of creating tons of great memories.”

Van de Ven can be reached by calling or texting (613) 246-5792. Physicians, teachers and others with concerns for a youth can contact Connect Youth at (613) 918-0173.

When a child or youth is struggling with a mental health or addictions challenge, their parents can feel  helpless and alone. Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (PLEO), another Hub partner, can help, with a monthly support group at KDH for parents and caregivers of children and youth with mental health and/or addictions challenges. The group meets on the second Tuesday of every month in the hospital’s Courtyard Lounge; PLEO is staffed by parents who also have supported their own children with these challenges.

KDH’s CEO Frank J. Vassallo stated that continued development of the Hub continues to be an important area of focus for the hospital and its partners. “The Hub remains very closely aligned with KDH’s strategic direction to make care seamless for patients and families,” he said, “and when the provincial government’s Ontario Health Team (OHT) concept was announced, it was a natural fit for KDH and our partners to identify child and youth mental health and addictions as one of the two target populations our proposed OHT will address.”

About Children’s Mental Health of Leeds & Grenville

Children’s Mental Health of Leeds & Grenville (CMHLG) is dedicated to serving the mental health needs of children, youth and their families. No professional referral is required. Children 12 and over may self-refer. Our programs and services are free, accessible, and confidential. We are an Accredited Children’s Mental Health Organization and the Lead Agency responsible for ensuring the Ontario Moving on Mental Health Strategy is effectively implemented across Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. Our Collective Core Purpose is to provide mental health resources and support for children, youth and families to build their own resiliency and become empowered and healthy.

For further information contact:

Lorena Crosbie, Executive Director

T: 613 498 4844 ext. 3021

For further information contact:

Jenny Read, Communications Officer

T: 613.258.6133 extension 223