New Mental Health Program Reaches Young Adults Most at Risk

What’s up’ walk in expands programs to service 19-24 year olds, addressing serious system gap

TORONTO--()--‘What’s up’ walk in, a no-cost, no appointment required, mental health and addictions counselling service in Toronto, has expanded its services to support the city’s young adult population, aged 19-24. This is a critical age for mental health support because it is the time the majority of mental illness emerges in a group currently desperately underserviced by the mental health care system.

“More than 75% of adult mental illness surfaces during late adolescence, a time many young people struggle with identity issues and emotional instability,” said David O’Brien, Lead Agency Network Manager for 'What's up' walk in. “Our counselling program caters to the developmental needs of young people and addresses the service gap many face as they transition into adulthood, preventing them from falling through the cracks.”

One of the big challenges for this population is there is no smooth transition between youth mental health services into adult services. This can lead to a breakdown in care and support. In addition, half of all mental health services in Ontario are delivered by family doctors who often aren’t aware of the community support available – like ‘What’s up’ walk-in. These young people are more likely to consider suicide or homelessness, and community supports like ‘What’s up’ walk-in provide the support they need in times of challenge and crisis.

“Youth experiencing homelessness face especially high rates of mental health concerns and many barriers to support,” said Grace Costa, Program Manager at Eva’s Initiatives, a Toronto-based program for homeless and at-risk youth. “We see crises where young people have difficulty getting support for their mental health needs, at times leading to tragic outcomes. These instances underscore the need for more funding and programming to provide mental health services for youth and we are pleased ‘What’s up’ walk in has expanded its services to address the unique concerns and vulnerabilities of this specific population.”

Thanks to $200,000 in donations from Royal Bank of Canada and Echo Foundation, many young adults will not face this struggle alone. Their support enabled 'What's up' walk in to expand its services to the age of 24, as well as increase the number of languages services are offered in to include, Tagalog, Cantonese, Mandarin, Farsi, and Tamil to better serve Toronto’s diverse and multicultural communities.

There are six ‘What’s up’ walk-in clinics in Toronto. Counselling services are offered five days a week, with no fee, no referral, appointment or health card required. For a full list of clinics, visit www.whatsupwalkin.ca.

About 'What's up' walk-in®
'What's up' walk-in® is a community-based, city-wide, free, five-day-a-week mental health walk-in service for children, youth and their families. Created and led by East Metro Youth Services (EMYS) since 2011, the service is available across the City of Toronto and aims to increase equitable access to evidence-informed, strengths-based, brief solution focused counselling interventions. Follow 'What's up' walk in® on Twitter @whatsupwalkin or visit www.whatsupwalkin.ca.

Contacts

Counsel Public Affairs
Sandy Blackwood, 647-927-7346
sblackwood@counselpa.com

Release Summary

‘What’s up’ walk in has expanded its mental health counselling services to support Toronto's young adult population, aged 19-24.

Contacts

Counsel Public Affairs
Sandy Blackwood, 647-927-7346
sblackwood@counselpa.com