SARNIA, ON- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of children and youth. To ensure that the needs of children and youth are not forgotten during this time of crisis, Family Counselling Centre (FCC) and St. Clair Child & Youth Services (SCCYS) have partnered to bring a child and youth crisis line to Lambton County.
With funding provided through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, FCC will leverage their existing Distress Line volunteers to provide this new service. In turn, SCCYS along with the Sarnia-Lambton Children’s Aid Society has provided the volunteers with additional training to equip them to work with children and youth. The youth from Spoken Hope youth advisory council also provided the volunteers with feedback and training using their own experiences to help volunteers understand the unique situation for young people who are struggling with their mental health. The new service will be provided through a separate phone line that children and youth can access 7 days a week.
“We have seen an increase in children and youth presenting with depression, anxiety, and family distress since the pandemic began. This new resource will allow children & youth to call anytime and receive immediate support from local volunteers who can provide them with help and connection” says Sue Barnes, SCCYS Executive Director. “The current United Way supported Distress Line has seen a 146% increase in calls since the onset of the pandemic and it is clear that folks in the community are struggling” says Hani Dajani, FCC Executive Director. “The Child & Youth Crisis Line will ensure that young people in the community can reach out for the same level of support.”
“In these challenging times, making sure that someone is available to listen and provide support to young people who need help is so important,” says Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey. “I want to commend the Family Counselling Centre and St. Clair Child & Youth Services on this important initiative and thank the youth of Spoken Hope for their valuable insight and contribution to this initiative.”
The Child & Youth Crisis Line is a one-year pilot project and will be assessed as the project moves forward. The Child & Youth Crisis Line can be accessed toll-free by calling 1-833-622-1320.
About Family Counselling Centre
FCC has been providing the Sarnia-Lambton community with counselling and support services and programs for over 64 years. For more information visit our website.
About St. Clair Child & Youth Services
SCCYS is the lead agency for children’s mental health in Lambton County and has been providing children, youth, and families with support for almost 50 years. For more information visit our website.