Addressing community need

A father sits next to some chidrens toys

“My daughter is in crisis and I need help now.”

When Julie’s (name has been changed to protect her identity) 15-year-old was in need of immediate help with anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, she, like many others, encountered a health-care system with a long wait list.

So, Julie turned to the Faculty of Education’s Child and Youth Development Clinic (CYDC), where she was able to get the supports her daughter required.

The CYDC provides consultation, assessment and intervention services from graduate student clinicians in psychology, social work and speech pathology to children and youth from three to 18 years of age.

As a result of the pandemic, the clinic also began to offer online counselling services. Since April it has helped more than 64 families with 430 tele-psychology appointments.

Impressed with the help her daughter received and having seen first-hand the positive results, Julie became a CYDC donor by supporting the clinic’s Accessibility Fund.

As a training site, the clinic provides services at a lower cost, but those costs may still be prohibitive for some. The Accessibility Fund helps support families and ensure everyone in need is able to receive support.

“What an amazing thing,” said Julie. “I know how hard it is to find mental health services.” The clinic has been filling the community need since it opened in October 2017 and receives one referral every 1.5 days. So far, it has received more than 800 referrals and provided support to more than 500 families. In Ontario, 28,000 children are waiting for these supports, making financial support for the clinic more important than ever.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of many children and families. I am so grateful to donors like Julie for helping us provide support to as many individuals as possible,” said CYDC director, Colin King.

“I’m a huge fan of the clinic and I’m really thankful because we hit so many walls in getting help,” said Julie. “The clinic saved us.”