Youth drop-in centre for county under development
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | December 7, 2017
Young people will need to be part of the solution when it comes to improving the health and wellness of their peers, says Dr. Ian Manion, a clinical psychologist who specializes in youth mental health and suicide.
“Engage the youth to lead in the solution, so that it happens,” Manion told community members who gathered in the high school’s gymnasium Nov. 29 for “Hurting to Hope,” one of two recent forums for “a community in crisis.”
He gave examples of successful youth programs in other parts of the world. One is Headspace, a youth mental health foundation in Australia that offers integrated services. This includes mental health, addictions, physical health, housing and vocational supports. Manion said it has increased access to services for those who wouldn’t typically access them. Organizations in the community, including Haliburton Highlands Health Services and Point in Time, are in the midst of developing a youth hub. In addition to including youth, Manion said it will require multiple services and input from families.
Some provincial funding might be available, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.
“I say if you do it, don’t do it because there’s government funding available. Do it because it’s the right thing to do for your community,” he said. “Then start looking at how you do it.”
During the forum, Marg Cox, executive director of Point in Time, said that Sticks and Stones Productions is interviewing young peopls for a video on establishing a drop-in centre. “Youth I’ve talked to over several years feel they need a safe place, a place where they can engage in activities, decide what that space would look like and how it would be operated,” said Cox. “It’s an opportunity for people in the community to come together with youth to put in a proposal for a youth wellness hub."
The hub would offer physical care and mental health services to 12-25-year-olds, she said. Point In Time is seeking letters of support for the initiative. In addition to Cox and Manion, fellow panelists from local agencies answered audience questions about bullying, social media, school policies and other topics. Current services in the community were highlighted.
School board trustee Gary Brohman thought the information was valuable and that it’s important to talk about bullying. “It’s a complicated issue, but from what I heard … is we must address this. It’s no different from a knee injury, a shoulder injury or something we go see the doctor about,” said Brohman.
To get involved or join Point in Time’s contact list, call Lindsay at 705-457-5345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.