Minto endorses youth services hub proposal

MINTO –  One of the hubs for a new youth services network will be located here.

Minto council endorsed a grassroots community initiative led by the Rotary Club of Guelph, to bring an integrated youth services model to the city and Wellington County.

Guelph Rotarian Cyndy Forsyth and Kate Reed, who was seconded from the Canadian Mental Health Association to help with the project, explained the concept to Minto council at the Jan. 7 meeting.

An integrated youth services hub is a one-stop centre for youths aged 12 to 26 that provides easy access to services for mental health, substance use, primary care, education, employment, training, housing and other community and social services in the same place.

“These hubs can also include peer services, outreach, and system-navigation assistance,” the delegates explained in a report.

Forsyth said the Guelph group has been working with Minto Mental Health for the past eight months on a concept originally presented to the Rotary Club by a speaker on integrated youth services.

“We know from research that youth struggle when they first enter puberty with mental health and growing up and figuring out what it’s like to be a teenager, and their identity,”  said Forsyth.

“And then we also know at the age of 18, the way we’ve set things up in our society, they fall right off the mark and we don’t have services and we expect them to just be adults.”

She added the hubs would provide centralized services from housing assistance to mental health so youth could access them at the same location.

The hub would also be prepared to provide “a soft or warm hand off if someone was experiencing a severe mental health situation.”

Forsyth said seven “micro sites” would be “sprinkled” around Wellington County and Guelph.

While ideally there would be a site in each Wellington County municipality, Forsyth said phase one would focus on “low-hanging fruit,” involving organizations that are ready to participate.

Forsyth said the Minto site would be “ideally in Palmerston” due to the proximity to Norwell District Secondary School.

Other planned locations for  phase one micro-sites include Fergus and Erin, with four sites to be located in Guelph.

Forsyth said the next steps in the process will be creating a memorandum of understanding with all partners, putting together a fundraising campaign and engaging youth and family service providers.

Council endorsed the participation of Minto Mental Health as a partner.

North Wellington Community News