Waypoint's youth wellness hub receives continued funding

·2 min read

The North Simcoe Youth Wellness Hub will receive continued provincial support beginning April 1.

The information came forward at a recent Midland council meeting, during which Carol Lambie, president and CEO of Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, answered questions from council about the hub that's located in the Chigamik Community Health Centre building on Bayshore Drive.

"How is the youth hub managing through the pandemic?" asked Coun. Beth Prost.

Like everything else, said Lambie, the hub has also found innovative ways of continuing its services.

"Some good news though," she added, "it's been confirmed again under the provincial strategic and mental health and addictions plan...we will have ongoing funding."

A hospital official said in a follow-up email that more information about the funding will be made available by the province at a later date.

Through the hub, she said, the youth, who are much more digitally savvy than other populations, have access to lots of monthly activities.

The hub, Lambie added, has also been reaching out and making connections through schools.

"As we move out of the pandemic, they will look at more traditional methods of providing care," she said. "It is beyond providing service in mental health, addictions or substance use. There's also primary care, so we're funded for a nurse practitioner, housing, education employment, and peer support."

Coun. Bill Gordon was curious about another unit at the hospital.

"How has the forensic unit fared with COVID-19?" he asked.

Lambie said there was a smaller outbreak in one of the provincial forensics program (Awenda).

"I'm pleased to say they've all recovered," she added.

Mayor Stewart Strathearn inquired about the establishment of the North Simcoe Ontario Health Team.

"Is it now an actual Ontario Health Team or are we still in the approval process?" he said.

Lambie said that is being led by the Georgian Bay General Hospital, Chigamik Community Health Centre and Wendat Community Programs.

"The Ontario Health Team that Waypoint leads is recognized as an innovative model in the province," she said. "It's intended to serve a much greater geography and also support multiple Ontario health teams. We work with Ontario Health Teams in Barrie, Orillia, Muskoka, and some to the south as well."

The Ontario health teams for local populations is intended to integrate primary care, home and community, and hospital care, Lambie said.

"The one we're leading is providing specialized services," she added. "For children and youth, we have a medical director works who works with the primary physician.

"It's a step-care model, so the first level of care would be primary care provided by the youth's family physician, but if they need specialized care, then our doctor would provide some counsel or care and then transfer the client back to the family physician. It's working in tandem with those multiple Ontario health teams."

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com