Good Day to all of our Friends of Shelldale Family Gateway. I sincerely hope this finds you and your families faring well during these turbulent times, and maybe even able to get outside for a little bit now that the weather has finally turned nicer.
This week I would like to discuss a new collaboration that Shelldale Family Gateway has joined: The Integrated Youth Service Network. A long name, but a fantastic partnership with several other agencies in town and around the County, all of which serve youth – aged 12 to 26. As you know, Shelldale Family Gateway has been providing excellent early intervention and primary prevention programming for youth for decades now. The focus of this new partnership is to specifically look at the mental health and wellness of our young people, and to assist and support them if/when they struggle.
The Integrated Youth Services Network (IYSN) is a complex and collaborative project, with the objective of providing the right services to the right youth in a timely and efficient matter. A network of community organizations has come together to re-imagine a newly designed system to directly address mental health and substance abuse needs of youth in Wellington & Guelph. Under the leadership of the Rotary Club of Guelph, a partnership of service organizations and volunteers has come together to build what is so urgently needed in the community.
Each organization is part of a network, all integrated by technology which allows youth to access the immediate virtual care that they so urgently need. Assessment of a youth’s needs will be provided virtually (and eventually in each facility). No matter the situation, technology will be used so that access to the right services is available no matter where you are. This technology component will enhance access for youth right now, as well as in the future by giving rural regions the same support system as those in urban centres.
In today’s siloed mental health model, each time a youth visits a new location or a new care provider, they are forced to retell their story which can be a traumatizing experience. The IYSN will include 7 locations but will feature the benefit of “one door” meaning that youth will only tell their story once. This is made possible through an interconnected online system and is now of the utmost importance during a time where we are relying highly on virtual care. The IYSN will include 7 sites located in the rural centres of Wellington, as well as in Guelph. They will offer a range of stepped-care services of varying levels of intensity that are co-designed with youth. Physical activity, mental health, substance use, and peer supports will be core services at all IYSN sites.
The 7 sites include:
- East Wellington Community Services – Town of Erin
- Minto Mental Health – Palmerston
- Skyline Community Hub – Fergus
- University of Guelph
- YMCA/ YWCA of Guelph
- CMHA Waterloo Wellington
- Shelldale Family Gateway
As you can see, Shelldale Family Gateway is in outstanding company. Not only that, but SFG is currently the organization that is most able to begin helping immediately because of our original primary prevention – early intervention model. We are placed perfectly to help the youth in our community right away. For more information on The Integrated Youth Service Network visit their website .
Of course, this all comes with a significant cost. While we are part of the larger group, we still need to cover the costs of our sector of responsibility. Any donation you can make towards our Youth & Community programming will go directly to supporting all those who need us so desperately.
Please consider giving what you can afford so we can continue and expand the work Shelldale Family Gateway does so well.
Stay safe and well –
Diana Boal, Executive Director