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Ontario Launches Pilot to Support At-Risk Youth

News Release

Ontario Launches Pilot to Support At-Risk Youth

Supporting Youth with Mental Health Issues and Setting Them Up for Success

Ontario is investing $390,000 in a research pilot project to help stop the cycle of homelessness for Toronto youth.

The pilot, which will improve the health and quality of life of 30 previously homeless youth, includes:

  • Social support for youth, including guidance from both a transition support worker and a trained peer support worker to help them address challenges such as mental health issues
  • Counselling for groups to address complex trauma and for families to help them reunite and resolve issues
  • Psychotherapy for those whose level of distress cannot be addressed through counselling.

The project will help youth move past basic survival into a period of stability, which is one of the biggest challenges facing homeless youth. It will also help encourage youth to go back to school or find employment, as well as provide critical support and intervention to help youth overcome barriers and maintain positive momentum.

Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive and have the best possible start in life. Providing mental health supports and helping youth break the cycle of homelessness is one way Ontario is working to support families and create positive environments for our children and youth to reach their full potential.

Quick Facts

  • This year, Children’s Mental Health Week runs from May 3-9.
  • The pilot project was developed by the Toronto Homeless Youth Transitions Collaborative, which is a group of internationally recognized organizations and experts in youth and homelessness.
  • The Ministry of Children and Youth Services currently invests in several projects through the Youth Opportunities Fund and Youth Collective Impact Program, including interventions to support youth experiencing homelessness.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Tracy MacCharles

“The most at-risk youth, who often struggle with mental health challenges and need ongoing support, are the least likely to have access to the services they need. That’s why the province is supporting this important and innovative pilot project.”

Tracy MacCharles

Minister of Children and Youth Services

Dr. Eric Hoskins

“We know that many Ontarians who experience homelessness also struggle with mental health and addiction challenges. To ensure a truly equitable and strong health care system, as a government, we must continue working to address homelessness and recognize poverty as a major social determinant of health.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“Young people emerging from homelessness need help with many things that most people take for granted, such as positive relationships with family and opportunities for education and employment. This project will ensure they get the help they need. We will give them the best chance we can to not just survive, but to flourish.”

Dr. Kwame McKenzie

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the University of Toronto, and The Wellesley Institute

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