CMHA York and South Simcoe has made a commitment to tackle the loss of young lives to mental illness, addiction and suicide through the establishment of MOBYSS (Mobile York and South Simcoe), Ontario’s first and only mobile walk-in health clinic for youth aged 12-25 years.
Serving approximately 5,000 youth per year, MOBYSS provides immediate access to mental and physical health care. In March 2020, in response to the global pandemic, MOBYSS transferred all services from in-person to virtual. 10 months into a pandemic that shows no signs of relenting, COVID-19 stress is hitting youth especially hard.
Our MOBYSS team and clinics have gone virtual to ensure marginalized and at-risk students at Banting Memorial (Alliston), Nottawasaga Pines (Angus) and Nantyr Shores (Innisfil) continue to have access to MOBYSS programming and professional mental and physical health care expertise, regardless of whether they are pursuing in-person on on-line academic learning this year. As the pandemic has progressed, demand for CMHA YRSS services has increased overall and youth are more frequently seeking help for suicidal thoughts, increased substance use, depression, and anxiety.
The MOYBSS team continues to “see” young people virtually, by phone and by text. We have opened a dedicated virtual drop-in clinic every Thursday afternoon and are considering adding an evening clinic between the hours of 5pm-11pm. Youth can still access service through the Save-A-Spot feature or by calling/texting the MOBYSS phone number.
We are developing a series of virtual psycho-social workshops around mental health topics such as teens and mental health, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), practicing mindfulness, and coping with stress and anxiety.
We are working with school social workers, guidance counsellors and Simcoe County School Board Mental Health Lead to identify students at risk and to incorporate the virtual workshops into the curriculum.
The 100 Women donation will help to keep this critical program funded and operational. It will also allow us to develop additional virtual psycho-social workshops to address pertinent and timely youth mental health concerns as they arise in this ever-shifting pandemic (and, we hope post-pandemic) landscape.