Maltby Centre – the lead agency in KFL&A for children and youth mental health services and autism services – reports it has had to implement a waiting list for new clients seeking ongoing mental health services for children and youth.
According to the agency, the impact of COVID-19 has led to a sharp increase in children, youth, and their families who need mental health care although its walk-in clinic and/or single session therapy continues to provide access to a therapist within a few days of making an appointment.
“The pandemic has been challenging for many families, but it has been especially hard on families with children and youth struggling with mental health,” said Karen Fleming, Executive Director. “We are seeing more clients with highly complex mental health issues. There’s been a sharp increase in service needs for mental health support.”
Maltby says it is working with system partners and is recruiting new staff to meet the increase in demand for services while continuing to provide service by phone, zoom, or in-person with strict pandemic safety protocols in place.
“We’re very committed to providing access to service to every child, youth and family who needs our help,” explained Fleming. “At the moment, children and youth who need ongoing mental health services should expect some delay in service delivery. Our walk-in or single session service is accessible within a few days of making an appointment.”
There are currently 28,000 children and youth across the province on wait lists for mental health care, with children and youth in some parts of Ontario having to wait up to 2.5 years for services.
While this is not the case in the local KFL&A Centre, the organization is working with its partners to advocate for the Provincial Ontario to invest more resources in child and youth mental health in the community.
“We ask for your support, patience, and understanding as we navigate the increase in service demand. If there ever was a time to help kids in our community, it is now,” states a Maltby release.
Anyone interested in advocating for children’s mental health can do so by joining the #kidscantwait community on social media – more information is available on the Maltby Centre website.