Integrated Youth Services (IYS) is a dynamic pan-Canadian and international movement that aims to build effective, youth-focused and integrated services for mental health, substance use and related issues. The Foundation does not view IYS as a particular model. Rather, we see it as defined by key principles that can be implemented in different models across jurisdictions and types of communities. The following are important principles that guide the Foundation’s work in IYS:
- Youth and family participation in the design and implementation of services
- Integration of services (mental health, primary care, addictions counselling, peer support, hospitals, education, social services, including housing, justice, employment) across service providers
- Continuity of services for youth and young adults (e.g. 12 to 25 years) – this can include integration of child and adult services that focus on this age group
- Clearly identified, easily accessible points of care in the community that provide rapid access to services – no service refusal, no referral needed, and access to high quality, youth-appropriate, culturally-relevant and evidence-informed mental health services (could be through integrated service hubs, safe spaces, schools, universities etc.)
- Stepped care models – evidence-informed, appropriate levels of care, at the right time by the right provider to ensure efficient utilization of services
- Incorporation of online portals and other technologies that facilitate alternative access to information and services
- Strong research and evaluation to guide continuous quality improvement and measurement of the impact of the transformation of services
Many of the IYS projects in Canada focus on building models that integrate the following services:
- Mental health services, including psychological services and counselling
- Youth and family peer support
- Substance use services
- Primary care, including sexual health
- Employment, education & training supports
- Social services, including housing
- A variety of recovery programs such as recreation, the arts, life skills etc.
These services aim to be culturally relevant and barrier-free.
Below is a map to demonstrate the growing momentum for Integrated Youth Services.
ACCESS Open Minds
- Provincial Projects supported by GBF currently underway
- Independent Provincial Projects in development or underway