The Integrated Youth Service Network

The Integrated Youth Service Network is a partnership with several organizations in Wellington County, all of which serve youth – aged 12 to 26. 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:

As you can see, Shelldale Family Gateway is in outstanding company. Not only that, but we are 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.

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