The Youth for Change program provides support for Black youths, aged 15-29, in and around Northwest Toronto, who are struggling with substance use and mental health concerns. This program offers youth with substance use and mental health issues access to counselling and support resources to assist them and their families in overcoming barriers, moving toward recovery, and making the best choices for themselves and their family.
The Youth for Change program focuses on identifying treatment needs and issues in the areas of both substance use and mental health. The project aims to intensify the participation of the youths and the community members in promoting sensitive conversations surrounding substance use and mental health concerns existing within the communities of the Northwest Toronto Region. The Youth for Change program concentrates on reducing accessibility barriers faced by Black youth and their families to addiction and mental health services.
The program involves services aimed at addressing the concerns of Black youth including but not limited to:
- Increasing access to culturally appropriate addiction services
- Awareness and knowledge about substance use and mental health concerns
- One-on-one counselling for mental health, substance use and addiction
- Group facilitations learning about harm reduction
- Skills building workshops for developing coping skills and making healthier decisions
- Culturally specific resources for youth and families
The Youth for Change program aims to:
- Reduce the stigma associated with substance use and poor mental health, which create difficulties for youths to get the help they need to achieve their goals
- Improving access and care for youths with substance use and mental health concerns
- Engage within the community to mobilize youths to address their concerns, and share challenges and experiences they face in order to find the best way to assist youths and families with their issues