St. Albert youth are being asked for their input, ideas, and wishes for St. Albert's future Youth Mental Health Hub.
The future youth hub, like those in Fort Saskatchewan and Spruce Grove, is part of a provincial project overseen by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
Ten hubs have opened across Alberta since the project was announced by the provincial government in 2017, with St. Albert hoping to have the 11th. A Youth Mental Health Hub is a physical space where young people can go to access mental health support, addictions services, primary health care, social services, housing support, and more.
As planning is still underway, Youth Mental Health Hub steering committee chair Mark Dixon says an opening date is unknown.
"In order for the hub to be effective, it needs to be developed by youth in every stage of its evolution," Dixon said in an email. "We started the work on the St. Albert hub in September 2021 and currently have more than 20 community organizations involved."
"We have submitted an Expression of Interest with the CMHA, who is overseeing the hubs project, which they have accepted. We won’t be eligible for funding until we have an approved agreement, which we are currently working on and will be informed by the results from the community consultation event," Dixon said.
Youth and young adults in Alberta between the ages of 11 and 24 are underserved with mental health and addiction services, the CMHA says online.
"Youth Hubs Alberta aims to minimize the service gap between child and adult services by providing youth-oriented access to mental health and wellness resources as early as possible," the site says.
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the St. Albert Inn and Suites, locals from 11-24 can participate in panel discussions, breakout groups, and brainstorming exercises to give their ideas for what the future Youth Mental Health Hub should offer in terms of services, how it should be designed, and what it needs in order to be successful.
So far, efforts to create St. Albert's youth hub have been possible through fundraising and donations from the T8N100 Women, the Rotary Club of St. Albert, and Goodwill Alberta, Dixon said.
For youth who want to share their ideas but can't attend the Feb. 25 event in person, Dixon says access will also be provided through Zoom.
"We’re working on elements that are similar to the engagement stations that will be happening in the room but leveraging Zoom tools like virtual Post-it notes, voting, etc.," he said. "We’ll be doing a Kahoot! Session that can be accessed in the room and also online."
Dixon said the organizing group has already heard some suggestions for the hub, such as an onsite support dog.
"We’re looking forward to hearing even more great suggestions on Feb. 25 at the St. Albert Inn," Dixon said.
To register online, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/community-consultation-st-albert-youth-mental-health-hub-tickets-472199069127. A free lunch will be provided.