Progress Report - January 2017
Dear Community Partner:
The Lead Agency Advisory Council continues to plan and implement changes to the child and youth mental health system in Waterloo Region. As a result, a lot has happened since our previous Lead Agency Progress Update.
Front Door Services Now Accessible in Rural Communities
Front Door is making children’s mental health services more accessible to people living in rural communities. Jointly operated by Carizon and Lutherwood, Front Door enables children, youth and their families to get immediate brief counselling and, when necessary, access more intensive services. As a result of a 2016 study commissioned by the Lead Agency Advisory Council to understand how to make children’s mental health services more accessible in rural communities, two mental health professionals have been hired to support a township-based service and they will be available one day a week in North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich townships. Township residents can schedule an appointment for a free, single counselling session by calling Front Door at 519-749-2932. More information is available on the Front Door website.
Carizon Works on Alternatives to Residential Treatment
In October 2016, Carizon Family and Community Services announced that in June of 2017, it is closing its residential mental health treatment program for children 12 and under. This decision was made after reviewing and exploring local, national and global trends and hearing from parents of young children that they are seeking support and treatment within their own homes and communities. Carizon is consulting with families, staff, community partners and the Lead Agency Advisory Council as it transitions out of residential treatment and replaces the service with a more flexible menu of services that includes day treatment, enhanced in-home supports and respite care. More information will be announced as this transformational shift in service delivery evolves.
Engaging Youth in Children’s Mental Health
As was announced previously, to support Lead Agency efforts to increase youth involvement in the child and youth mental health system transformation, Lutherwood, KW Counselling Services, the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health and the KW Community Foundation launched a local chapter of a Children’s Mental Health Ontario program called The New Mentality. Locally known as Ignite, this group of youth has gathered together to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health by engaging youth in awareness projects in our community. Since the fall, a core group of four students have chosen to do presentations in local schools to help youth learn more about mental health and what resources they can turn to, and feel more comfortable asking for help. More information about the group and their work can be found on their website.
Mental Health Strategies at Local School Boards
On December 1, 2016, the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board presented their mental health strategies to a group of almost 30 representatives from the Lead Agency Advisory Council and other local service providers. The WRDSB’s Mental Health Strategy and WCDSB’s Mental Health & Well-Being Strategy are both clear commitments to improve awareness of mental health and wellness, and to collaborate as they develop and implement resources to support staff and students.
Local Lead Agencies Collaborate
Effectively planning and implementing systemic changes always works better when everyone works together. Also, there is nothing like learning from others. So Lutherwood as lead agency for Waterloo Region and CMHA Waterloo-Wellington-Dufferin as the lead agency for Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin now have a representative on each other’s respective planning tables. This will enable both lead agencies to better coordinate care for children and families, and drive innovation in both regions.
Thank you for your continued interest in our community work. It is great to have so many community partners engaged and enthusiastic about the changes we are making to the system. If you have any suggestions or questions about our lead agency work, please contact Randy Penney, Director, Lead Agency, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-884-1470 x1221.