Author of the article: Taylor Blewett
Publishing date: Jun 14, 2021
Kids’ mental health has been front of mind during the pandemic. A new service will simplify the search for mental health care in the region.
A groundbreaking new resource is available in eastern Ontario to help de-mystify and de-stress the process of finding accessible, appropriate mental health or addiction services for a child or youth in need.
Instead of scrolling for help on Google, alone at home, or repeatedly rehashing their stories to new providers only to find out they don’t qualify for a particular service, young people and their families can now phone or visit 1Call1Click.ca(opens in new window/tab)
The free service offers youth and caregivers the opportunity to share their story, ask questions, and be given a list of services tailored to their needs, as well as help selecting and making appointments with the best-fit options.
Developed at “warp speed,” thanks in large part to a $1.5-million donation from the RBC Foundation, 1Call1Click is the brainchild of the Ontario ministry of health-supported Kids Come First Health Team. It comes at a time when the mental wellbeing of young people is of great concern, 15 months into a pandemic that has profoundly altered their lives.
“It is, without a doubt – One of the greatest days for child and youth mental health and addiction care in our region,” said Joanne Lowe, at a Monday press conference. Lowe is the executive director of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa and vice-president for mental health and addiction at CHEO, both 1Call1Click partners and member organizations with the Kids Come First Health Team.
When work on 1Call1Click began in earnest last fall, almost 30 partners as well as youth and family members and caregivers all came together to fix a problem they had heard about for years, Lowe explained. Namely, when access to youth mental health services was needed, it was challenging for young people and their care providers to know where to turn.
Having to deal with a series of independent service providers isn’t just a frustrating inefficiency – it has real, significant consequences. Some people gave up and stopped reaching out for help when they needed it most, while others went repeatedly to emergency departments, Lowe said.
“And we also know that under those circumstances, there are much poorer outcomes and poorer successes among young people when they actually do get to the door of the help that they need,” said Lowe.
1Call1Click serves children and youth up to age 21 in much of eastern Ontario, including Ottawa, and the counties of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Prescott-Russell and Renfrew. In addition to its current services – providing information about the system and available resources, and helping connect people to those resources – 1Call1Click will also offer a case co-ordination service for youth and children with complex needs, potentially as early as the fall.
“One of the unique features about 1Call1Click, is that it’s also not just a place to call or to click to, but what you get is actually a very, very supportive, professional person at the other end who will help you navigate the service system,” said Lowe.
Christie Kopczyk, a parent advisor and program manager at the Parents’ Lifeline of Eastern Ontario, recalled being on the computer in the early hours of the morning, trying to find services for her own son. They ended up paying for private care when there probably was something public available to them, “if we just had been able to find our way there,” she said.
In addition to caregivers and young people, who can self-refer or be referred by their doctor, 1Call1Click can also be used by primary care providers, school boards and other organizations who want some help navigating the web of youth mental health and addictions services available in eastern Ontario.
“As somebody who has the right type of care now – in the early days, when I didn’t know what I was struggling with and what the appropriate care would be, it was very scary for me, as an adult,” Lisa MacLeod, Nepean MPP and Ontario cabinet minister, said at Monday’s press conference.
MacLeod, who has a mood disorder and has dealt with anxiety and depression, said her constituency office has sometimes served as a navigator for families feeling similarly lost, connecting them with places like the YSB and Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services.
With 1Call1Click, said MacLeod, “We’ve been able to do something unique, something one of its kind, and something that is state-of-the-art. Something that is going to save children’s lives, right here in eastern Ontario.”
You can contact 1Call1Click by calling 613-260-2360, or 1-877-377-7775 (toll-free in Eastern Ontario) or visiting https://www.1Call1Click.ca.