Youth Services

Before it was like there was a ladder and everyone is climbing, but I was stuck at the bottom. Now I am starting to climb.

Our Youth Matters

Many of our pragmatic Youth program expenses do not qualify for core funding. We raise funds to ensure youth in our community, your community, continue to have access to high quality, client centered mental health supports when and where they need them.

Your donation is life saving:

Often the youth we serve exhibit complex mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and depression, among others. They frequently experience the added burden of substance misuse, poverty, homelessness and family discord/estrangement. When these problems are added to the typical turbulence of adolescence, it is easy to predict poor outcomes.


Where it began

In 2008 our Youth Program was established in order to meet demands for specific mental health services and supports to youth aged 16-24. In response to that demand, in 2009, we began internally supporting a Youth Pilot Program with 3 youth.

What It’s become

Today we have 5 full staff dedicated to Youth mental health and addictions services.
4 of these staff are serving African Canadian, Caribbean and Black youth, with specific funding and direct support from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY).

The Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian Caribbean Youth (12-29 years of age) will provide culturally safe and affirming anti-oppressive, anti-racist, and trauma-informed mental health and substance use services to Black youth and their families. SAPACCY’s clinicians recognize how systems of oppressions overlap with identities (e.g., racism, sexism, ableism, classism, heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia) to affect the mental health of Black youth and their communities and as a result, work towards decolonizing mental health supports for clients of African descent.

Our team will have the ability to provide culturally safe and client centered support to Black youth who have been underserved and marginalized by our health system as a whole.
The SAPACCY service model is comprised individual counselling and support, joint counselling with family members or extended family members, group therapy, family support groups, and intensive case management. With the exception of Indigenous youth, Black youth are considered to be the most vulnerable youth segment in Canada, therefore supportive counselling with Black youth not only includes interventions geared towards meeting their substance use goals and their clinical recovery needs but doing so from an Africentric lens. Further, Black youth have verbalized the importance of receiving support from Black clinicians who wholly understand and appreciate the cultural aspects of their needs as they relate to their journey of recovery. The treatment goals of this program focus on the racial realities of lives lived under Eurocentric systems and takes into consideration the myriad of factors that pose threats to their mental health and which often constitute underlying reasons for their substance use.
We look forward to our continued collaboration in strengthening and building upon existing supports and services by offering complimentary mental health and addiction capacity to our community partners.

Our commitment to our communities youth is extremely important to us – as today’s youth, are tomorrow’s adults.
Our Youth Programs addresses a critical window of treatment time for youth suffering from mental illness. Access to adequate and culturally safe care and support during this time is crucial to their future success, as early intervention is key to preventing the poor outcomes typically associated with lack of treatment.

Our Youth History

In 2013, an external third party evaluation of our Youth Pilot Program was undertaken and we are still proud of the results today, as evidenced by our growth in serving this sector. We welcome you to view and share the findings of our initial Youth Program Evaluation Report here.


Our Youth Program has seen and accepted referrals from a number of well-known community organizations:

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

The Royal Ottawa Hospital

Children’s Aid Society

The Canadian Mental Health Association

The Dave Smith Youth treatment Center

Eastern Ontario Youth Justice Agency

Youth Services Bureau


Like most teens, our son doesn’t listen to us. This program allows him to live his life and have privacy… while also getting support.

Parent of Upstream Client

Youth Services