The Integrated Youth Services Network (IYSN) director is grateful for county funding staff positions as demand for youth mental health services are anticipated to increase.
The County of Wellington council approved a request to fund a clinician and social worker for the IYSN, a series of sites aimed at providing a one-stop solution for youth services and needs.
There are three Wellington County IYSN locations either opened or soon-to-be open in Erin, Fergus and Palmerston.
The two positions are a clinician and social worker and funding was approved for two years for a total of $460,000.
“It’s a fantastic day for the youth in our community,” said IYSN director Cyndy Moffat Forsyth in response to the funding being approved.
“We’re anticipating there will be an increase in demand as soon as the restrictions are lifted and that’s why this funding is so important so we can meet the demand that’s coming our way.”
A funding proposal letter from IYSN officials stated mental health problems are “growing at an exponential rate due to the pandemic.”
The letter noted there has been a 40 per cent increase in demand for mental health services in the region in 2021 and a 242 per cent spike in overdose deaths since the onset of the pandemic.
“Currently there are 164 children and youth in Wellington County and Guelph waiting for psychiatry appointments and 141 children and youth in Wellington County waiting for counselling and treatment services,” the letter states, adding prior to March 2020 there was no waiting list for these services.
The director explained the sites need to have a collaborative approach to ensure the proper agencies and services are available to Wellington County youth when they need it.
“We really need boots on the ground, we need as many walk-in services as we can possibly provide,” Moffat Forsyth said.
“We are really looking forward to working with the youth in Wellington County and are very grateful to Wellington County for seeing the need and responding in such a timely manner,”
Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com