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Ontario’s first mobile health clinic for youth launches

Toronto, May 4, 2015 – The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Seneca marked Mental Health Week (May 4 to 10) at Seneca’s King Campus by unveiling Ontario’s first roving comprehensive health clinic for youth.

The mobile clinic was developed by CMHA York and South Simcoe and has been named MOBYSS, for Mobile York South Simcoe (pronounced mo-bies). It will help youth overcome barriers to accessing all health services including mental, medical and sexual health by offering a welcoming, confidential and culturally appropriate service. The clinic – painted in graffiti-style graphics – will be on the road six days a week, reaching out to youth where they gather, such as malls, college campuses and skate parks.

“Our greatest tragedy is the loss of young lives to mental illness, addiction and suicide,” said Rebecca Shields, Chief Executive Officer of CMHA York and South Simcoe. “We are excited about how this transformational clinic brings together a range of community services and partners to tackle barriers to helping youth in need. Simply making it easy for them to get in the door is a critical first step.”

The drop-in clinic is staffed with nurse practitioners, youth mental health workers and peer support counsellors. The clinic can help youth with a broad range of concerns including if they are feeling down, anxious, dealing with drugs and alcohol, minor injuries or illness. The clinic provides assessments, counseling, suicide intervention, sexual health education, basic primary care, and medical screening. Partnerships with other agencies and local hospitals through the Ontario Telemedicine Network, will provide holistic support and seamlessly transition these young people to community services.

“This mobile clinic is an important step forward to improving equity and access to quality health services. This is a great example of an innovative initiative that puts patients first – bringing care directly to the youth who need it most,” said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins.

The clinic will also rely on youth-friendly mobile technology – from a mobile site that tracks its location and offer resources, to booking and reminders for appointments via text. A youth advisory committee will ensure that services remain relevant and client-centered. Once fully operational, the clinic will serve more than 2,000 youth per year.

The vehicle was made possible through grants from the Province’s Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Central Local Health Integration Network, as well as through local fundraising from Docs on Ice and the Royal Bank of Canada.

“Seneca recognizes the vital importance of having services and properly trained individuals available to help those in need,” said Tina DiSimone, Dean of Seneca’s Faculty of Applied Arts and Health Sciences. “Our King Campus is quite focused on health-related programs and we are proud to support this important CMHA initiative as another step in helping bring mental health support to youth in our community.”

This event also served as the official launch of Seneca’s new Mental Health Intervention graduate certificate, beginning classes this month. Community agencies told Seneca they needed employees who were prepared to identify and assist people with mental health challenges. This specialized one-year program is open to anyone with an undergraduate diploma or degree in a helping discipline such as health, public safety, social work, or therapeutic recreation.

About Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region and South Simcoe

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) works toward a single mission as the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness. Serving over 16,400 individuals in their community every year, CMHA provides a range of services and supports. MOBYSS is a flagship program of their innovative and transformational strategy to ensure that all youth in York Region and South Simcoe are prepared to care for their mental health, know where to for support and have rapid access to services for their mental illness.

About Seneca

With campuses in Toronto, York Region and Peterborough, Seneca offers degrees, diplomas, certificates and graduate programs renowned for their quality and respected by employers. It is one of the largest comprehensive colleges in Canada, offering nearly 300 full-time, part-time and online programs. Combining the highest academic standards with work-integrated and applied learning, expert teaching faculty and the latest technology ensure Seneca graduates are career-ready.

For more information, contact:

Rebecca Shields
CMHA York Region and South Simcoe, CEO
C: 905-251-3792
T: 905-841-3977 ext.2201
Follow us on Twitter
Instagram: MOBYSSBUS

Emily Milic
Seneca Media Relations
C: 416-938-9219
T: 416-491-5050 ext. 77018

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