Toronto, ON – According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, one in five, or 1.2 million, children and youth in Canada are affected by mental illness.
As the isolation and anxiety caused by the pandemic takes a toll on young people’s mental health, more Canadians aged 14-18 are looking for treatment. In response, EHN Canada, the leading network of private mental health and addiction facilities across the country, has developed its new virtual mental health program for teens – the Healthy Minds Teen Program launching October 4, 2021.
Lanie Schachter-Snipper, National Director of EHN Outpatient Services, says that “historically, EHN has treated adults 18 and up. But there are upwards of 20,000 youth who are on waitlists for mental health services, and it’s higher since COVID-19 started. This is a dramatic spike in need and there simply aren’t enough services to support them. The mental health community—and communities in general—are really struggling to meet the needs of our youth.”
The Healthy Minds Teen Program is delivered virtually through EHN Outpatient Services and utilizes evidence-based treatment practices to support improved mental health outcomes for teens and their caregivers. The program is designed to effectively help those with mild-to-moderate mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety. It’s anticipated for Healthy Minds to provide treatment for up to 150 youth per year.
Dayna Browne, Registered Social Worker and the program’s Clinical Lead, says, “For youth who have been glued to screens for the past two years, it’s really hard for them to now transition back into the interactive classroom, into the real world. They have been so socially isolated. Because [this program] is in a group setting, it’s really designed to be conducive to youth connecting. They’re going to learn from each other.”
The six-month online program consists of nine weeks of individual and group therapy (three hours per week) led by a Masters-level clinician who specializes in child and youth mental health. To help the teens maintain their recovery after the intensive nine weeks, the program also includes a 14-week aftercare program with biweekly group sessions.
Browne explains: “Aftercare is a unique feature of this program. It’s really about equipping youth with the right tools, especially in such a constantly changing environment. A key component is: how can we teach youth those practical skills in a lasting and memorable way?” Included in Aftercare is the Wagon app, an interactive virtual tool with teen-appropriate, gamified content to help participants track their recovery and continue achieving new goals.
EHN Canada understands the need for families to heal together so the EHN Health Minds Teen Program also includes treatment for caregivers. As the youth are receiving treatment, their caregivers also receive 12 hours of education and coaching to help them learn the skills necessary to support their teens with ongoing recovery. The caregiver program is offered in a group setting to encourage skill transfer within families and to facilitate stronger bonds, connection, and co-operative relationships.
Other features that make the Health Minds Teen Program unique and effective include evidence-based approaches such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); bi-weekly progress reports; and a discharge summary with treatment recommendations.
EHN Outpatient Services’ Healthy Minds Teen Program is available to youth between the ages of 14 and 18. Teens must have access to a laptop or tablet (smart phones are not adequate for these programs), a private space, high-speed internet, and a willingness to engage in group sessions. EHN Canada is also proud to partner with New Start Foundation to provide funding to those who qualify for financial assistance. To find out more about this new program, visit ehnonline.ca.
ABOUT EHN CANADA
EHN Canada is the nation’s largest private network of industry-leading mental health, trauma, and addiction treatment facilities, each with a passion for providing quality treatment for Canadians. We are committed to both caring for our patients and supporting their loved ones. With over 100 years of collective experience, our inpatient, outpatient, and online programs are offered across the country, providing essential compassionate care to patients wherever they are.
To learn more, please visit www.ehncanada.com
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