Photo: Agata Liebrock, left, Registered Nurse and Care Coordinator, speaks with Megan Miller, a client at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Youth Wellness Centre.
For many youth, transition throughout late teens and mid 20s can be challenging. Lots of emotions and uncertainty can lead to strong feelings of anxiety or depression, and other mental health issues that can surface for the first time during this stage in life.
Located in the downtown core of Hamilton, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Youth Wellness Centre (YWC) caters specifically to those who are too old for children’s services, but too young for adult programs; allowing the focus to be on youth experiencing emerging mental health difficulties from the ages of 17 to 25.
“This was a much needed addition to the city. The Youth Wellness Centre helps bridge the gap for young people,” says Agata Liebrock, a Registered Nurse and Care Coordinator, YWC, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “One of the goals of the Centre is to make that step, that reach for help, easier.”
The YWC’s interdisciplinary team provides three main services: early intervention for youth struggling with mental health difficulties for the first time, transition support for youth moving into the adult mental health system, and mobile team support for young people with significant barriers to accessing mental health care.
Liebrock is one of the first clinical points of contact for youth joining the YWC. She begins by speaking privately with the individual to understand what is going on in their life, what they’re struggling with, and what they would like to work on.
“One of the great benefits of the Centre is that it removes feelings of isolation. Our young people are learning they’re not alone and that others are experiencing similar issues,” explained Liebrock. “We have a lot of resources available at the Centre. We can also refer them to other programs or services available within the community to help with their specific needs.”
In the first year of operation, the YWC had a tremendous impact on our community with over 2,000 visits to the Centre. These numbers outpace the original projections for the Centre’s usage, and demonstrate how real the need is for youth mental health care in our community.
A client who visited St. Joseph’s YWC said, “The Youth Wellness Centre provides support for young people like me during a critical phase. I’m still growing. It’s still a journey. There is no such thing as a finish line to depression.”
For more information visit our website, www.stjoes.ca/YouthWellnessCentre or call 905.522.1155 Ext. 31725.