A centralized resource connecting children, youth and families to local mental health and addiction supports
WINDSOR, ON – Not sure where, when or how to access mental health and addiction services for children and youth? Feeling overwhelmed with mental health information and not sure where to start? On the heels of this Saturday’s National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, a new service introduced today will help connect infants, children, and youth up to age 18 and their families to mental health and addiction services in Windsor-Essex.
As the Windsor-Essex Lead Agency for Child and Youth Mental Health Services, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) in collaboration with its Core Service Providers, Children First, HDGH’s Regional Children’s Centre (RCC), Maryvale Adolescent and Family Services, Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre (weCHC) Youth Addictions Program and Family Respite Services, are excited to introduce WEConnectKids. Services offered through WEConnectKids aim to help infants, kids, youth and their families connect with the most appropriate local mental health service based on their unique needs.
“WEConnectKids is a system of care and collaboration to ensure children, youth and their families know where and how to access service no matter where they live in Windsor-Essex,” said Terra Cadeau, Executive Lead, Children and Youth Mental Health Lead Agency, Strategy and Partnerships at HDGH. “A key priority of HDGH’s role as Lead Agency for Child and Youth Mental Health Services is the implementation of coordinated access, which functions as the centralized entry point for children, youth and their families allowing for seamless referrals and clearer pathways through the system,” explained Cadeau.
WEConnectKids is free, confidential, and can be accessed by children and youth themselves up to age 18 or by parents and/or caregivers by:
- Calling 519-257-KIDS (5437), Monday to Thursday 8am – 8pm and Friday 8am – 4pm
- Or by walk-in at HDGH Regional Children’s Centre (RCC) Counselling Clinic, 3901 Connaught St., Windsor, Monday to Thursday 8am – 8pm and Friday 8am – 4pm.
Upon connecting with a WEConnectKids team member, an individual can expect to be asked a series of questions. These questions are designed to help the team decide what type of service and agency can be of the most support. If the person is agreeable, the team will contact the most appropriate agency and they will be followed up with directly.
“While together, our goal is to create a more seamless, connected, accessible mental health system for our community’s young people, it’s important to note that WEConnectKids is not intended to be the sole access point for child and youth mental health services in Windsor-Essex,” said Lori Kempe, Executive Director of Children First who provides mental health and developmental services for families and children up to six years of age. “If children, youth and/or families have an existing relationship or connection to a specific provider, they, of course, can continue to work with that agency,” she explained.
WEConnectKids is not meant to replace the existing engagement and intake process of service agencies but instead a true system of collaboration between providers, reducing waiting times and making it easier to access and receive mental health and addiction care in our community.
“Life can be hard for young people. Children and youth are struggling but part of this struggle should not be finding and accessing help. Whether you are a child, youth, parent or caregiver, we are here to help. Our team will listen and connect you with the right mental health support needed.”, said Cadeau.
For more information, visit www.WEConnectKids.org.
ABOUT LEAD AGENCY
A Lead Agency for Child and Youth Mental Health Services provide leadership and management to local planning efforts of core mental health services delivered within the region. Further, Lead Agency is responsible for engaging and collaborating with the community-based sector, healthcare providers, schools and other organizations to support the mental health needs of infants, children, youth, young adults and families.
As Lead Agency for Child and Youth Mental Health Services, HDGH will continue to support the strategies outlines through Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addiction System, strengthening and coordinating a system that brings families and our Windsor-Essex children, youth and young adults closer together to the services, partners and the mental health supports they need and deserve.
To learn more about HDGH’s Lead Agency work and system collaborations visit www.hdgh.org/leadagency.
Erica Colovic, Communications Coordinator
Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare