Attempting to meet the mental health needs of racialized youth, YouThrive is a new program 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. 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,” adds Jeffs.
YouThrive is a mobile service, employing BIPOC clinicians who have lived experience with racism. The YouThrive team 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 who offer youth mental health and addictions services.
Young people will also be able to self-refer for YouThrive services online through the YWC website: www.stjoes.ca/youthwellnesscentre
The focus is to build a safe and culturally respected forum that will build up both Indigenous, Black and BIPOC youth and families and the agencies they access.” –Adrienne Clark, Youth Wellness Worker, Hamilton Regional Indian Centre