Children’s Mental Health Ontario is committed to ensuring that youth across the province have a say in their treatment and how mental health services are shaped and delivered. We work to amplify youth voice to influence change within the mental health system and beyond. Our youth engagement team works directly with youth to articulate issues that are of importance to youth, tell us what needs to change, vet our solutions, and help us advocate for change.
In November, 2016, our provincial Youth Action Committee released its first zine, Waiting for Change! The publication is collection of personal stories and youth-led policy recommendations to address the issue of wait times in the child and youth mental health system.
Why “Waiting For Change”? Youth Action Committee members know from personal experience and the many stories shared with them by other youth, that wait times for mental health services are extremely long and are significantly impacting the well-being of young people. After two years of collecting stories and youth-led recommendations from youth across the province, the Committee members created a zine outlining four recommendations for to alleviate wait times in Ontario. These are broken down into two ideas to shorten wait times and two ideas for helping youth manage while they wait for services.
This Zine was written by the members of the 2016 Youth Action Committee and informed by youth from across Ontario.
We would like to thank the members of the 2015 and 2016 Youth Action Committee, Amanda, Travis, Nicole, Sabrina, Matt, Zara, Cherish, Shannon, and Beth for dedicating their time, energy and passion to this project.
We would also like to thank the attendees of the 2015 Waiting For Change Youth Summit (supported by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), Disable the Label 2016 participants, and the many young people who shared their voice and ideas to improve wait times in Ontario.
To learn more about this project and The Youth Action Committee visit the YAC webpage.
Caralyn Quan & Mary-Anne Leahy at CMHO's 2016 Conference
To find out more about The New Mentality, click here http://thenewmentality.ca/.
Through our New Mentality Program, youth act as leaders in their community to raise mental health awareness and decrease stigma, gain access to training and mentorship opportunities, and contribute to provincial youth-led policy work led by our Youth Action Committee.
“Being part of The New Mentality Network has been an empowering and inspirational experience for both the youth members and adult allies. There is a feeling of unity and support from other groups across the province and especially TNM leaders Caralyn and Mary-Anne. As a youth there was always opportunity for support and direction.” i-AM Youth Windsor New Mentality Group
“...The New Mentality is like one big family. It’s the most accepting group of young people I have encountered. I keep coming back because my voice being heard is the start of awareness.” - Dessi, New Mentality Kingston Youth Facilitator, Pathways for Children and Youth