Corn­wall get­ting a hub

City cho­sen as one of 10 sites to launch Youth Well­ness Hubs in On­tario

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - NEWS - LOIS ANN BAKER

Local youth who feel they have nowhere to turn when suf­fer­ing from ad­dic­tion or men­tal health is­sues will now have a safe, wel­com­ing place to go to.

In 2017, the On­tario gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would be pro­vid­ing fund­ing to es­tab­lish 10 Youth Well­ness Hubs and it was con­firmed on Fri­day the East­ern Cham­plain re­gion would be home to one hub with two lo­ca­tions— one in Corn­wall and one in ClarenceRock­land.

Corn­wall Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal pres­i­dent and CEO Jeanette Des­patie said late last year, sev­eral com­mu­nity part­ners came to­gether to con­sider re­spond­ing to the Youth Well­ness Hub of On­tario call for pro­pos­als.

“It took less than one meet­ing to con­firm the need and to be­gin to work on the sub­mis­sion for ap­proval,” she said. “We were all de­lighted to hear in the spring that our pro­posal had been ap­proved and we could move for­ward on our plan­ning.”

Specif­i­cally tar­get­ing youth aged 12 to 25, the Youth Well­ness Hub will pro­vide a one-stop shop for men­tal health, sub­stance abuse, pri­mary care, ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment train­ing, hous­ing and other com­mu­nity and so­cial ser­vice needs.

“This hub model will build on our work with our part­ners to in­te­grate ser­vices and sup­port to youth within our com­mu­ni­ties,” said Des­patie. “We hope to ad­dress needs around life-skills train­ing as well as ex­po­sure to recre­ation, cul­ture and art.”

Des­patie said the hub would cre­ate a pure and pos­i­tive space where youth can gather.

“The pro­gram is not about ex­tra ser­vice, but a new model of care where we hope to fa­cil­i­tate early iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of men­tal health and ad­dic­tion is­sues,” she said.

Dr. Joanna Hen­der­son, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Youth Well­ness Hubs On­tario, said one of the rea­sons Corn­wall and area was cho­sen as the lo­ca­tion for one of these hubs was be­cause of the en­thu­si­asm and in­volve­ment of the com­mu­nity in the sub­mis­sion for pro­posal.

“There were 45 com­mu­ni­ties who sub­mit­ted pro­pos­als,” she said. “So you can imag­ine we had a tough job in terms of those that would re­ceive fund­ing.”

Hen­der­son said they were for­tu­nate to have youth at the ta­ble with the com­mit­tee and they had an equal voice in the se­lec­tion of com­mu­ni­ties that would re­ceive fund­ing.

“This com­mu­nity’s ap­pli­ca­tion stood out for a wide va­ri­ety of rea­sons,” she said. “As part of the ap­pli­ca­tion that came in there was a fab­u­lous video put to­gether. Videos made by youth about why a hub was needed in this com­mu­nity. It was very com­pelling. It re­ally stood out in terms of how this com­mu­nity was en­gag­ing its youth in the con­ver­sa­tion.”

Hen­der­son said an­other rea­son this com­mu­nity was cho­sen was be­cause the ap­pli­ca­tion stood out as an ap­pli­ca­tion for a com­mu­nity that was di­verse and would stand out in the prov­ince. Hen­der­son said there are 10 hubs across the prov­ince and each will work sort of the same, but dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on the needs of the com­mu­nity.

“The goal re­ally is that young peo­ple will be able to go any­where in the prov­ince of On­tario and find the ser­vices they need easily and be able to ac­cess them quickly,” said Hen­der­son. “The ser­vices need to be of­fered in a youth friendly space where young peo­ple can get all kinds of dif­fer­ent op­por­tu­ni­ties. The goal is to im­prove the well­ness of all young peo­ple in the prov­ince of On­tario.”

Hen­der­son said the ex­pec­ta­tion was young peo­ple walk­ing through the door, young peo­ple iden­ti­fy­ing for them­selves within the com­mu­nity that this is their space. The phys­i­cal lo­ca­tion of the hub has not been de­ter­mined yet. lbaker@post­media.com twit­ter.com/LoisAn­nBaker

LOIS ANN BAKER/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

The Corn­wall Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal an­nounced the launch of a new Youth Well­ness Hub on Fri­day. The event was at­tended by dig­ni­taries and a num­ber of youth who were in­volved in the pre­sen­ta­tion; seen here are Ryan Mullin, Lily Si­dorchuk, Jeanette Des­patie, Dr. Joanna Hen­der­son, Cameron Scott For­rester, Mi­caela Har­ley, Aimee Lariv­iere, Ai­den Pescar, MPP Jim McDonell and Chris­tine Pen­ney.

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