Family Navigation Project launches
Today, Sunnybrook launched a first of its kind navigational service to guide and support families who have youth struggling with mental health and addictions concerns.
Sunnybrook’s Family Navigation Project is a new call-in and email program that partners “navigators” (clinically trained health professionals) with youth who are experiencing mental health and addictions struggles, and their families, to guide them through the complex GTA mental healthcare system, and connect them to the right services.
“Families don’t know where to go or how to find the services their children need. Parents have told us they’ve waited months for help, only to be told they’re in the wrong line,” says Dr. Anthony Levitt, medical director and co-founder of the new Family Navigation Project at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “With the Family Navigation Project, there is no wrong line. It gives them a way to start and a path to follow in their journey to recovery, with someone there to support them along the way.”
Nearly 70 per cent of mental health and addiction issues have their onset in adolescence, and without timely and appropriate care, these concerns frequently develop into lifelong struggles that can drastically impact individual and family health, quality of life and productivity, as well as place significant burden on the healthcare system.
“Timing is of critical importance in finding the right treatment program for young people struggling with mental health challenges and yet only one in five of these young Canadians gets access to the specialized care and treatment they need,” says Jeanne Foot, the Chair of the Parent Advisory Council, a group that help to set up the Family Navigation Project.
The goal of the project is to improve access to treatment for youth aged 13 to 26, and to support the families so they receive the help they need. The navigators are experts who can provide tailored insight into the mental health and addiction systems. The navigator follows up with the family throughout the journey, to monitor and ensure that the process is working. The project is also building relationships with the various mental health services and providers so they are able to provide families with insightful “first-hand” information about the resources from clinical and parent perspectives.
Youth or their families in the GTA can call the FNP phone line at 1-800-380-9FNP or email firstname.lastname@example.org and expect to get a response back within one business day.