RVH receives funding for regional
Child & Youth Mental Health program
Thousands of troubled youth throughout North Simcoe Muskoka will soon have access to specialized mental health care at RVH.
Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins recently announced the provincial government will invest $3.2 million in annual operating funds for a regional Child and Youth Mental Health program at RVH.
"Young people facing mental health challenges should be able to get the quality supports and care they need. By investing in this new care program in Barrie, children and youth in the region will have better access to the services and treatment to help them stay healthy," says Minister Hoskins.
North Simcoe Muskoka is currently the only region in Ontario that does not have a hospital-based child and youth mental health program. The funding will enable RVH to construct an eight-bed inpatient unit, to open in late-2017, which will care for up to 300 young people a year. A comprehensive day hospital program will provide an additional 3,000 outpatient visits annually.
"Youth suffering acute mental health issues, such as suicidal behaviour, psychosis and severe depression need quick access to secure, specialized inpatient services for stabilization and treatment," says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. "Today's announcement will change the future for kids in crisis across North Simcoe Muskoka. By providing care closer to home, RVH and our regional partners will significantly ease the burden for young people and their families."
RVH's Chief of Psychiatry, Dr. Eric Mulder, notes that 1,700 young people visited a North Simcoe Muskoka Emergency Department last year, a number that has doubled over the past five years. The lack of hospital services has meant many of those troubled children and youth were sent outside the region – as far away as Ottawa – for their inpatient mental health care.
"The statistics are startling," says Dr. Mulder. "One in five youth experiences a mental health challenge and that number continues to increase. We know that 70 per cent of mental illness arises in childhood or adolescence so getting these kids the help they need in the early stages is key."
While the funds announced today are for annual operating expenses, the RVH Foundation has committed $5 million through its Hearts and Minds fundraising campaign for the construction, equipment and furnishing of the unit.