Department of Psychiatry
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Fresh Start

Fresh Start programThe Fresh Start ECPP (a.k.a ‘Section 23’) Program is an intensive Day Treatment Program, offered as a co-operative program by our division of youth psychiatry and the Toronto District School Board. Students who participate

  • Have a primary mood, anxiety, or psychotic disorder;
  • Are still in recovery, and
  • Are eligible for enrolment in a TDSB high school, i.e.,
    • Are ages 14-19 and
    • Have completed Grade 8 and
    • Have not yet graduated high school and
    • Live in the City of Toronto – i.e., have a home postal code that begins with an ‘M’.

Under the care of a six-member interprofessional treatment team (Child & Youth Counselor, Social Workers, Nurse, TDSB Teacher, Art Therapist, and a physician (psychiatrist)),  Fresh Start's mission is to transition students back to school by treating the mental health issues interfering with the students’ ability to function in a regular classroom setting. The program provides a safe, school-like environment where students can be medically monitored while developing critical thinking, independent learning and life skills. The typical length of stay is 8-12 weeks.

  • Fresh Start functions as a group program, but each student must come equipped with their individual set of goals — the underlying reasons for their participation in the program. Students must be highly motivated and willing to work with the team to achieve their goals.

  • Fresh Start is a "blended" program: skills acquired in the afternoon therapeutic groups are to be implemented in the morning academic portions of the day and vice versa.

  • Since students will be working intensely on skill building throughout their enrolment, there is an opportunity to earn one high school credit. For 2022-2023, students at Fresh Start will be able to begin work on a Guidance credit.

It is especially important to understand that everyone attends Fresh Start for his/her own reason. Despite the familiar school-like setting, each student's therapeutic programming is individualized. Therefore, no comparisons are to be made between students; each must be able to focus on his/her own recovery.

The focus of Fresh Start is therapeutic recovery, not academic progress:

  • Therapeutically, students must communicate daily with the Child & Youth Counselor, weekly with the physician, and actively engage in all therapeutic groups.

  • Academically, students mainly focus on improving their learning skills, e.g. self-advocacy, communication, emotional self-regulation, independence, etc.

  • Therapeutically, students must communicate daily with the CYC and weekly with the physician, and actively engage in all therapeutic groups.