KEMPTVILLE – It’s a sad fact of life that mental health problems are common in children and youth today. Often families and service providers are unsure of where to go for service and at times there is also a wait for services. Children’s Mental Health of Leeds and Grenville (CMHLG) and Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) want to spread the word that help is available through a new walk-in clinic offered every Wednesday in downtown Kemptville.
The clinic, which is held at CMHLG’s Kemptville office at 3-5 Clothier Street on Wednesdays between 11 am and 7 pm (last appointment is at 5:30), is the first new service introduced by the 20-partner collaborative formed to create the Mental Health and Addictions Health Hub (‘the Hub’) for Children and Youth in North Grenville that was initiated by KDH in early 2018, with CMHLG as the lead agency.
Since its opening in April 2019, “The uptake of the walk-in clinic has been good, but we can see more children and youth,” said CMHLG’s Executive Director, Lorena Crosbie.
The new clinic is in addition to the full range of counselling services already available at CMHLG. “Families may only want or need a single walk-in appointment, or they may utilize the clinic while waiting for other services,” Crosbie noted.
The walk-in clinic offers each child and youth an appointment with a counsellor to focus on behavioural, emotional and/or mental health concerns. If additional services, such as intensive service, group services and psychiatry consultations, are required, CMHLG will facilitate that.
In between counselling sessions and/or while waiting for a referral, children and youth can talk to the Hub Navigator, Kris Van de Ven, as often as every day if they need to. Van de Ven also works for Connect Youth, a partner in the Hub that helps and supports youth with a variety of challenges in addition to mental health and addictions, including employment and housing. Physicians, teachers and others with concerns for a youth can call Connect Youth to become involved.
“Every minute counts when it comes to the mental and emotional wellbeing of the children and youth in this community,” said Dr. Irfan Moledina, a consultant paediatrician who holds a clinic at KDH and is a valued member of the Hub Steering Committee.
Dr. Moledina welcomed the opening of the walk-in clinic, noting that he and his colleagues see children and youth suffering with a range of mental health issues including panic attacks as a result of being bullied, aggressive behaviour leading to school suspensions, and self-harm.
There is help for parents as well: Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (PLEO), another Hub partner, holds a monthly support group at KDH for parents and caregivers of children and youth with mental health and/or addictions challenges. The group meets on the second Tuesday of every month in the hospital’s Courtyard Lounge; PLEO is staffed by parents who also have supported their own children with these challenges.
The new walk-in clinic is for children and youth 18 and under who are looking to work towards a solution to a problem or concern. For youth over the age of 18, Rapid Access Counselling is available Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm through Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health at their Brockville office; please call ahead for satellite offices, 1-800-361-6948.
KDH’s CEO Frank J. Vassallo noted that development of the Hub continues. “In addition to improving access to services with the Hub,” he said, “we are looking at ways to improve coordination of care and transitions between providers, such as hospitals like the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, as well as family doctors, and health and social service agencies.”
“Moreover, the Hub would be embedded within the services an Ontario Health Team (OHT) would provide,” Vassallo added, referring to the new model of healthcare being established by the provincial government to better connect care providers and services around patients and families.
For more information about the walk-in clinic please call CMHLG at 613-498-4844 or 1-800-809-2494. For Connect Youth, call (613) 918-0173. For PLEO, call 1-855-775-7005.