A recent community forum has further demonstrated not only the need for a youth wellness hub in Lindsay, but a commitment to make it a reality.
Hosted by BGC Kawarthas, CHIMO Youth and Family Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association (Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge) and the Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team, the Feb. 2 event gathered great ideas and brought more people into the discussion of implementing a one-stop- shop wellness centre.
The hub would provide opportunities for youth up to age 25 to access everything from places to charge their phones, socialize with peers and grab a bite to mental health and substance use supports.
“The current system is a maze,” said Cyndy Dearden, director of community relations and partnership development with Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) and one of several guest speakers for the event.
While she was impressed with what BGC Kawarthas has achieved via its Youth Warehouse — which welcomes more than 100 youth daily — she supported the organization’s efforts to build further.
Dearden noted a hub is a “more progressive model” when it comes to delivering supports and services and “helps make sense of a fragmented system.” It also helps remove many barriers for youth.
“All they have to do is walk through the door,” said Dearden.
There are currently 22 youth hubs across Ontario — including the Wellington-Guelph hub Dearden helped create back in 2018 — many of which have more than one site and the majority intentionally located in rural and underserviced areas.