Fall can’t come fast enough for Levi Bailey. The 21 year old is eagerly awaiting the September start of his Pre-Media and Entertainment Program at Mohawk College. A year ago, a post-secondary opportunity was not even on his radar.
Instead, the young Hamiltonian was experiencing feelings of hopelessness. Directionless, he dropped out of school and struggled with depression and anxiety.
It was the head of a local social agency that suggested Levi contact St. Joe’s newly unveiled Youth Wellness Centre (YWC) that opened its doors in the downtown Pigott Building. Levi was encouraged to refer himself to St. Joe’s YWC program.
It is one of the many unique aspects of the Youth Wellness Centre: online self-referral. Beyond the traditional physician referral, anyone can submit the name of a young person between the ages of 17 and 25. In its first year 700 referrals have been made to the centre, and there are almost 500 active clients working either with in-house supports, or the Youth Wellness Centre’s mobile team that travels to post-secondary schools to meet directly with students on campus.
In January, the centre launched a monthly primary care clinic with McMaster Family Practice, to help those with no family doctor. Young adults are benefitting from the centre’s youth mentors, peer support circles, art therapy drop-in programs, and even a book club.
The first year successes of the Youth Wellness Centre were highlighted at an open house earlier this month. Levi was there, celebrating the centre’s promising future, and more importantly, his own.
Watch Levi’s story below brought to you courtesy of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network
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