A $20,000 grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund will help BIPOC youth in Hamilton access mental health and substance use care at St. Joe’s Youth Wellness Centre
The funding will support YouThrive, an innovative mobile program dedicated to delivering mental health and substance use care to Black, Indigenous, and racialized children, youth and families in the Hamilton community.
Specifically, the grant is enabling the Youth Wellness Centre to hire a youth mentor who identifies as Black, Indigenous or People of Colour (BIPOC), and who has lived experience with navigating the mental health and substance use services system. The mentor’s role is to help BIPOC youth in Hamilton gain access to the culturally appropriate care they need.
“Our clients have told us, time and time again, that there are many barriers racialized youth in our community face when accessing mental health and substance use care,” says Lisa Jeffs, the program manager at the YWC.”
The YouThrive team regularly visits local community groups and organizations, such as schools, community centres, and cultural centres, to build connections with BIPOC youth and provide direct access to culturally appropriate mental health and substance use supports. Youth can also self-refer to YouThrive services through the YWC, or be referred by family, friends, a medical professional, or other service providers in the community.
“Says Jaleesa Bygrave, a YouThrive clinician. “Historically, Black, Indigenous and racialized folks have experienced varying forms of racism from mental health services in the community, which has resulted in an understandable mistrust of the system. YouThrive aims to address this through the provision of mental wellness services that take into account their experiences and perspectives.”
YouThrive is run in partnership with Thrive Child and Youth Trauma Services, De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre, and the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre