We have enjoyed working with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) on multiple projects, including the Child and Youth Mental Health Program. The focus of this program is to provide mental health services, in addition to academic support, to high school students who are unable to attend regular classes due to anxiety or depression.
“We know that a teenager’s mental health is just as important as their physical health and they deserve the same quality of care and access to support,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “We needed a service for students who are struggling academically because of their illness.”
To support this program, we converted a former administration department into the new Child and Youth Mental Health unit. The new unit provides inpatient services with direct and discreet access to the Emergency Department in a home-like setting which includes activity, dining and treatment spaces, and an abundance of natural light to all patient areas. The renovations also included improvements to staff workflow, collaborative workspaces, and a consolidation of back-of-house support spaces away from patient areas, to minimize institutional aspects and foster a more inviting environment.
One unique feature of the Child and Youth Mental Health Program is the use of the day-treatment model, allowing adolescents to attend during the day and return to the comfort of their homes in the evening. By combining education and mental health treatment, supported by teachers and trained therapists, this program “… will provide students with the supports and skills needed to return to school and be successful,” says Peter Beacock, Simcoe County District School Board Chairperson.
The goal is to “fill their backpacks with effective strategies” and help transition students back into their community schools.