Mental health

The need for mental health support is growing: we’re here to help

Written by Sunnybrook

Sunnybrook’s Family Navigation Project is expanding the age range of youth eligible for our mental health and addiction services to 11 – 29 years old across the Greater Toronto Area.

“We’ve noticed a steady increase in navigation requests among middle-school students, and also older youth,” explains Liisa Kuuter, Program Manager, Family Navigation Project. “We’re excited to be able to support more youth and their families with navigating in an ever-changing mental health and addiction system.”

We are just a call or email away:
Phone: 1-800-380-9FNP or 1-800-380-9367
Please leave a message and we will be in touch with you within one to two business days.

Dr. Anthony Levitt, Medical Director of the Family Navigation Project, and Liisa answer some common questions youth and families may have about using the Family Navigation Project to get the help they need.

How do I know when to seek help?

Dr. Levitt: Families often wonder when to turn to professionals. In general, if they are not functioning as they usually do at home, at school or at work, and they have had a change in their behavior, it’s wise to seek help. Some changes in behavior might include if a person is:

  • Often sad, worried, or fearful
  • Having major changes in appetite or sleep needs
  • Spending most of their time alone instead of with friends or family
  • More impulsive or has trouble focusing
  • Self-destructive or overly aggressive toward others
  • Using drugs or alcohol frequently or dangerously

What’s the first thing I should do if I think I need support?

Dr. Levitt: Making an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrician is always a good first step. There are also mental health professionals in the community who can provide assessments and recommendations, like psychologists and mental health therapists. There are some excellent online resources through the Canadian Mental Health Association and some very helpful websites to find services including Help Ahead and ConnexOntario.

If you are finding that you or your loved one is not connected with the services they need, or you have tried several of these other resources unsuccessfully already, please reach out to us at the Family Navigation Project.

What does Sunnybrook’s Family Navigation Project do?

Liisa: We often say that we ‘stay in the boat’ with you until you get the help you need. Our clinically-trained system navigators work directly and intensively with you and your family to:

  1. Understand and match a young person’s needs to the most
    appropriate service.
  2. Coordinate care when multiple service providers are required or
    already involved.
  3. Follow-up to ensure treatment is progressing as anticipated with both you and your service providers.
  4. Course correct” if the recommended services don’t work out or the situation changes for you or your loved one.

Honestly, I feel like I need help as the caregiver. What options for support are there for parents and guardians?

Liisa: Mental health and addiction issues have an impact on the entire family. In addition to providing options for the youth, we also help navigate for parents and caregivers, siblings and other family members involved in the care and or support of a youth.

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