Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario Sarnia-Lambton Opens Their Doors

Thursday, July 27, 2023 - 10:25am

Transforming Mental Health Care for Youth Aged 12 to 25

Youth in Sarnia-Lambton now have a transformative new space dedicated to their mental health needs with the opening of the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) Sarnia-Lambton location. 

Since 2018, partners, volunteers, and donors have been working to establish a site in Sarnia-Lambton that will transform mental health and addictions care for youth aged 12 to 25 and their families. St. Clair Child & Youth Services, Bluewater Health and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Lambton Kent, together with the Spoken Hope Youth Advisory Council and the Bluewater Health Foundation, have worked tirelessly to raise $3M and to co-create a youth space that will facilitate quick access to mental health and addictions education, assessments, counselling and treatment. 

“The new YWHO Sarnia-Lambton site is a shining testament to the power of collaboration among partner organizations, and of the visionary leadership of our incredible youth advisors,” said Paula Reaume-Zimmer, President & CEO, Bluewater Health. “Together, we have co-designed a space that embodies the spirit of inclusivity, empathy, support and hope, ensuring a nurturing environment where young people can thrive. This achievement showcases the transformative potential when diverse voices unite for a common cause.”

“The opening of the YWHO Sarnia-Lambton location represents a significant milestone in the quest to normalize youth mental health care and reduce barriers that often impede access to vital services,” said Rhonny Doxtator, Acting CEO, CMHA Lambton Kent. “By offering a welcoming environment where youth can freely seek support, YWHO Sarnia-Lambton strives to decrease frustration and improve overall mental health outcomes for our local youth and their families.”

The YWHO Sarnia-Lambton location will serve as a one-stop destination where young individuals can find comprehensive mental health and addiction services, including counseling, peer support, crisis intervention, and access to specialized care when needed. By centralizing these services, YWHO aims to enhance coordination, collaboration, and continuity of care for youth, ensuring they receive the support they need at the right time and in the right place.

St. Clair Child & Youth Services Interim Executive Director Craig McKenzie said, “After years of hard work and planning, we are proud to open our doors to youth in our community. This grand opening represents a significant milestone in the mental health landscape of Sarnia-Lambton. Youth have long faced systemic challenges to accessing services, and YWHO Sarnia-Lambton offers a centralized space to provide comprehensive care and support. Youth will have the opportunity to step through the doors, empowered to prioritize their mental health and embark on a path to resilience and wellbeing.”

“YWHO Sarnia-Lambton will provide young people with an inclusive, welcoming space where they can walk-in and access a full range of Integrated Youth Services (IYS). These services include mental health and substance use health supports, primary healthcare and social services, all while creating connections through recreational, skill development and well-being programs. We are very grateful for the active and collaborative community partnerships including St. Clair Child & Youth Services, Bluewater Health and CMHA Lambton Kent as well as Weir Active, which have made development of this Youth Wellness Hub possible and are essential for meeting the needs of youth throughout Sarnia-Lambton and beyond,” said Dr. Jo Henderson, Executive Director, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario.

The opening of YWHO Sarnia-Lambton could not have been possible without the generosity of the community, including lead-donor Mike Weir Foundation, and the County of Lambton who leased the building to YWHO Sarnia-Lambton for a symbolic $1. This generous investment in youth wellness underscores the county’s dedication to nurturing the mental health of its youth population.

Opening in tandem with YWHO Sarnia-Lambton is Weir Active, a research project funded by the Mike Weir Foundation in connection with the Youth Wellness Hubs of Ontario. Weir Active is a free service for youth 12-25 years old, with the purpose of showing that physical activity and play have a place in a care model for mental health.

An official Grand Opening event is planned for August 22. The public is invited to attend the YWHO Sarnia-Lambton site at 190 Front Street (at the corner of Lochiel and Front) from 12:00 to 2:00 pm for tours and celebration.

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