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August 1, 2019   

Woodview at the Heart of The City

By Sarah Precious, Community Engagement Coordinator, Woodview

Woodview is expanding in Brantford thanks to countless youth who let their voices be heard.

Mental health needs are on the rise and so is the need to offer responsive services. Since being designated as the Mental Health Lead Agency by the government in 2015 Woodview has been working with youth, families and community partners to explore and better understand the mental health needs in the community of Brantford and Brant. This process has included focus groups, interviews, needs assessments, research projects, and most importantly partnering with those accessing services to co-create new and innovative ways to deliver services and transform the children’s mental health system.

Woodview has adopted the framework for youth and family engagement.  The core of this framework considers youth and families to be treated as equal partners in the co-creation of the programs and services that they use.  Evidence shows that programs and services co-created with youth and families are more likely to have better outcomes for both service users and providers.  Engagement practices help organizations move from a provider perspective to an invested partnership philosophy.  This helps to embed the culture of engagement into the heart of an organization.

As a result of working with youth and families, Woodview has found a new home in the heart of the city, Harmony Square.  From this space we will offer some of our core services along with a Youth Wellness Hub pilot project to meet the needs of our community.  “Youth need to be able to express themselves and seek the support they need in a safe place.  This is why we have created this new space, so they can talk about mental health freely without barriers,” says Flora Ennis, Director of Services and Systems Planning.

Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario were developed by the government of Ontario to offer integrated services in a one-stop-shop location for youth 12-25 years of age.  These services are aimed at offering the right services, at the right time, in the right place.  Our location will be modelled after the youth wellness hubs but was renamed by our youth and will now be known as, Woodview in the Square.

Woodview in the Square will bring multiple services and partnerships under one roof to make it easier for children, youth and families to access mental health and a variety of other services.  These services will be youth and family friendly, with co-designed spaces to offer an inviting atmosphere, and a space where all belong.  We are very excited to announce that the Brant County Health Unit along with St. Leonard’s Community Services are our first community partners at Harmony Square.  There are so many wonderful opportunities and hope we will have more partners join us soon!

This location will also provide our unique Brief Outreach Services which will offer clinical mental health services in the community, at the office, with flexible hours, and a youth friendly philosophy.  These services will meet youth where they are at by setting up services through text, phone or by having youth walk in during drop in times to get immediate counselling and supportive programming.

“We are listening to our youth and this is us moving one step closer to meet their needs.  The youth have left their thumbprint on their new space, and we can’t wait to see what this service will do for our community,” says Ennis.

Article used with permission. Originally published in The Expositor on July 25, 2019: https://online.flowpaper.com/7c1e077b/HealthMindBodyJLY251/#page=1