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Maltby Centre cautions long waits for youth mental health appointments

Photo by Lucas Mulder.

The Maltby Centre has implemented a waiting list for new clients seeking ongoing mental health services for children and youth, due to an increased request for services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has been challenging for many families, but it has been especially hard on families with children and youth struggling with mental health. We are seeing more clients with highly complex mental health issues. There’s been a sharp increase in service needs for mental health support”, said Karen Fleming, Executive Director.

The Maltby Centre is the lead agency in KFL&A for children and youth mental health services and autism services, according to a release from the centre. They are working with system partners and recruiting new staff to meet the increase in demand for services, the centre said. They continue to provide service by phone, zoom, or in-person with strict pandemic safety protocols in place.

“We’re very committed to providing access to service to every child, youth and family who needs our help. At the moment, children and youth who need ongoing mental health services should expect some delay in service delivery. Our walk-in or single session service is accessible within a few days of making an appointment,” said Fleming.

Right now there are 28,000 children and youth across Ontario on wait lists for mental health care, according to the release. In some parts of the province, children and youth can wait up to 2.5 years for services. This is not the case in KFL&A. The centre said they are working with their partners to advocate for the Government of Ontario to urgently invest more resources in child and youth mental health in the community.

“We ask for your support, patience, and understanding as we navigate the increase in service demand,” she continued. “If there ever was a time to help kids in our community, it is now.”

People wishing to advocate for children’s mental health can do so by joining the #kidscantwait community on social media.

More information about the Maltby Centre is available on their website: www.MaltbyCentre.ca.

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