By Jenn Watt
Mental health supports established for the county’s youth through the Haliburton Youth Wellness Hub will be receiving base funding from the province, and new funding for staff, the Ministry of Health confirmed.
On Oct. 21, the government announced $24.3 million in funding for various mental health services for children and youth across Ontario, setting aside $5.8 million for youth wellness teams.
The Haliburton Youth Wellness Hub, which provides services to young people from ages 12 to 25, was one of 10 established as part of a three-year pilot program, said a media spokesperson for the ministry.
“The government is now flowing base funding to the youth wellness hub sites in order to move them to a more mature state where they will have a permanent mental health and addictions service team on site, the youth wellness team,” the spokesperson said. Like the other existing youth wellness hub sites, Haliburton will be receiving a portion of the new funding to staff a core clinical team, which will continue to work in partnership with the network of local agencies supporting the hub.”
The specific financial figure allocated to Haliburton was not released at press time.
Marg Cox, executive director of Point in Time Centre for Children, Youth, and Parents, which is a partner on the youth hub, said she was pleased that Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott had kept the promise she made while in Haliburton for the youth hub launch.
“I think the youth wellness hub opening back in March  was an incredible event because of the parents and youth that shared their stories, the youth that created artwork and played music and showed Minister Elliott the value of youth hubs in our community,” Cox said.
She also noted when the Echo had asked Elliott during a question period about whether ongoing funding would be provided, the minister had said it would – and Cox said she was happy that has come to fruition.
Although programming at the youth hub has not been going precisely to plan, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which descended on the province shortly after the launch event, Cox said they’ve found ways to continue providing service.
“One of the things that we’ve been starting to do is physical outreach in various communities in Minden, in Wilberforce, in Cardiff, as well as outdoors in Haliburton at the skateboard park,” she said. “And, at the youth hub, we’ve continued to run services by appointment. So, if somebody needed to see our nurse practitioner or someone wanted to attend our sexual health clinic, if somebody wanted to see somebody for counselling, all of those appointments are still going on at the hub.”
Point in Time is in the process of assessing whether informal, non-clinical gatherings can be held that would be COVID-safe. Currently, get-togethers are hosted virtually.
To find out more about the Haliburton Youth Wellness Hub, go to https://www.pointintime.ca/youth/haliburton-youth-wellness-hub/ or find them @HaliCountyYouthHub on Instagram.