New program aims to meet mental health needs of racialized youth in Hamilton

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Published June 22, 2021 at 7:06 pm

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A new mobile service has been launched, dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of racialized youth in Hamilton.

YouThrive is being offered by the Youth Wellness Centre (YWC) of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton in partnership with Thrive Child and Youth Trauma Services and Hamilton Regional Indian Centre.

Providing peer support and culturally adapted care, YouThrive will help Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) in dealing with issues specific to racially marginalized youth.

“We know racialized and Indigenous youth are not making use of mainstream mental health services,” says Lisa Jeffs, Manager of YWC. “Systemic racism is a key barrier to clients who try to access care.”

Organizers say the program has been designed to meet the distinct concerns faced by racialized youth in Hamilton. 

YouThrive will employ BIPOC clinicians who have lived experience with racism. The team says it will regularly visit schools, mosques, and cultural centres to meet directly with youth of all ages and their families in need of mental health services.

“Racism has a profound impact on the mental wellness on Black, Indigenous and racialized youth and I think it is essential for mental health services to incorporate this lens into their service delivery so that we are continually providing racially relevant services,” says Jaleesa Bygrave, YouThrive clinician.

In addition to direct client care, the team will provide anti-racist and anti-oppressive training to community agencies that offer youth mental health and addiction services.

Young people will also be able to self-refer for YouThrive services online through the YWC website: stjoes.ca/youthwellnesscentre

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