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Ontario’s Child and Youth Mental Health Lead Agency Consortium

Lead Agency Consortium Applauds Annualized Funding to Deliver Province-wide Virtual Walk-in Counselling

June 1, 2021

(June 1, 2021 TORONTO, ON): Children and Youth Mental Health Lead Agency Consortium (LAC) co-chairs Karen Ingebrigtson and Linda Dugas, applaud the Government of Ontario for its announcement today of annualized funding to support the delivery of province-wide virtual walk-in mental health counselling for children, youth and families.

For the past five months, members of the LAC, led by Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) and Strides Toronto, have been moving forward with launching a province-wide model to deliver virtual counselling services to children, youth and families. The provincial program, planned to launch in 2021, will offer rapid access virtual walk-in counselling, plus an entryway into ongoing mental health services.

“During the pandemic, children, youth and families responded favorably to connecting virtually with clinicians and mental health services. For many families —in particular, those living in remote and underserved regions of Ontario— virtual access to mental health services eliminates the burden of travel and wait times while enhancing service levels,” said LAC cochairs Ingebrigtson and Dugas.

Strides Toronto CEO Janet McCrimmon and HDGH President & CEO Janice Kaffer added, “The pandemic revealed the child and youth mental health sector’s ability to pivot quickly and to tailor our services to support virtual connections with youth and families. The children, youth and families we serve will benefit immeasurably from the availability of one-number, virtual access to mental health counselling —regardless of where they live in Ontario.”

Given the funding announced will be annualized, LAC will redouble its efforts to implement a new innovative and connected virtual walk-in counselling program, affirming the pledge of Ontario’s child and youth mental health service providers to meet clients and families in a manner best for them.

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For more information, please contact LAC executive director Patrick Dion, executivedirector@lac-car.ca, 613.297.4028

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