Support services such as counseling, mental health, and therapy have moved online, and demand for such services has increased as people deal with not only pandemic worries, but their personal challenges.
According to an estimate, approximately 28,000 children and youth across Ontario are on wait lists for mental health care. Some clients have to wait for almost 2.5 years before they can access services. While this is not the case yet in KFL&A, there is a need to advocate for more investment in resources and organizations dealing with child and youth mental health in the community, according to local service providers.
One Roof, a community youth hub where youth services agencies provide support to vulnerable and homeless youth, has announced they still have the capacity for new client intakes during these challenging times.
“As a result of the pandemic, young people in our community are struggling due to the lack of social connection and meaningful daily activity,” said Colleen McAlister, Program Manager at One Roof.
Young people in the community face issues related to mental health, substance use, poverty, trauma, abuse, homelessness, and conflict with the law. Programs available at One Roof include but are not limited to drop-in, housing assistance, crime prevention, mental health and addictions, life skills training, employment or educational assistance, LGBQT2S+ supports, Indigenous programming, and recreational activities.
When asked about the expected caseload in the coming months, One Roof showed hope to return to in-person programming with full capacity.
“As the provincial lockdown ends and we can lift some of the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place, we do expect a rise in the demand for services. With the reopening of our drop-in and the return to in-person programming, we will likely see a significant increase in youth engagement. With over 25 youth-serving agencies under one roof, we are prepared to offer a high degree support to every young person that walks through our doors,” said McAlister.
During the third Ontario-wide lockdown, One Roof has served over 60 youth in virtual programming such as counseling sessions facilitated by Resolve, mental health workshops facilitated by Youthab, FUSE’s LGBQT2S+ Group facilitated by Addiction and Mental Health Services (AMHS), Indigenous programming facilitated by Elder Helena Neveu, Virtual Cooking Class by One Roof’s Food Assistant, and with new and innovative programs to provide additional mental health and clinical programs launching soon.
One Roof Kingston Youth Hub is located at 484 Albert Street.