The Maltby Centre has launched an easier-to-navigate website, which offers more resources to local youth and families. Their online re-vamp includes a new Youth Portal created by Maltby Centre’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), as well as the Maltby Wellbeing Project Podcast created by the New Mentality, which works to decrease the stigma of mental illness and raise awareness of services and supports available for youth experiencing mental health challenges or illness in Ontario.
According to a release from the centre, current statistics for children and youth in Ontario reveal an “alarming rate” of mental health challenges. Approximately one in five children and youth in Ontario have a mental health challenge and about 70 per cent of mental health challenges have their onset in childhood or youth (CMHA Ontario).
The Maltby Centre, which provides autism and children’s and youth’s mental health services for people up to 24 years of age, as well as their caregivers, parents and guardians, noted that young people can be especially vulnerable and isolated, so having a support network of like-minded individuals their own age can be incredibly beneficial. Parents and guardians also face increasing mental health challenges and stresses as the pandemic effects continue to linger, according to the release.
“Fostering open communication, healthy relationships, and access to information supports young people’s mental health,” stated Karen Fleming, Executive Director of Maltby Centre. “Our improved website, youth portal and an innovative podcast are important steps toward accessible information and connections for our clients and the KFL&A community in general. I am so very proud of the work of our dedicated New Mentality and YAC teams.”
“The new youth portal is an easily accessible web page designed to conveniently relay important mental health resources for the KFL&A community,” the Youth Advisory Committee for Maltby Centre added. “The goals, achievements, and ongoing work of the Youth Advisory Committee are displayed to inspire youth and promote youth engagement.”
According to the Maltby Centre, talking to other youth about mental health can help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and can provide an outlet for young people to express their feelings and seek help when they are feeling overwhelmed or struggling,
“Parents and guardians of teens need to know that mental health issues are common and can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from stress and anxiety to family dynamics and social media use,” explained Karen Livicker, Director of Clinical Programs & Services for Maltby Centre. “It is important for parents to be aware of the warning signs of mental health issues in their teens, such as changes in mood, difficulty sleeping, loss of interest in activities, and withdrawal from friends and family. Having somewhere to direct their teens such as our Youth Portal and Wellbeing Project Podcast can be an essential first step on the journey to better mental health.”
Maddison Morgan, one of the New Mentality hosts and creators of the Maltby Wellness Project Podcast added, “Taking back control of my mental health has been a goal of mine since I started high school. It is an important piece in regards to setting myself up for success as I experience life. This podcast, The Maltby Wellbeing Project, has been my first step in actively making a difference in my community. It focuses on talking through relatable stories and coping with difficult emotions. Our main goal as a group is to reduce stigma around what shouldn’t define us, but instead, bring us together. The first episode is about my story and the struggles I’ve faced over the past few years. I hope that I can be a voice for those dealing with similar circumstances.”
The New Mentality is a program of Children’s Mental Health Ontario, a provincial association that represents and supports the providers of child and youth mental health treatment services throughout Ontario.