Young people in crisis have another place to turn to in Petrolia.
St. Clair Child and Youth Services and the Central Lambton Family Health Team have opened a new Walk-In Clinic.
The walk-in therapy clinic offers quick access to a single session of therapy to address a specific and it is a way to connect with other services from St. Clair Child and Youth Services.
CLFHT Executive Director Sarah Milner heard St. Clair Child and Youth was among the agencies getting more money from the province to address mental health issues in teens, so she called and invited them to set up shop in Petrolia. “I contacted them directly and they were very open to us.”
The idea of the walk-in clinic was developed. Every other Thursday, teens can come to the health team’s office – which is right across the street from LCCVI – and get a chance to talk to a therapist. They may only need one visit, says Milner, or it may be a way to connect to the more extensive services they need.
Right now, the clinic is open from 1 pm to 6 pm, but Milner says they are planning to change the hours to include the high school’s lunch period so teens from out-of-town can access services and still catch the bus home.
“There are a lot of people who don’t have the means to get into Sarnia for service,” says Milner. “We are trying to work the clinics around the times of high school so they can get the services whether they can come before lunch time or before the bus left, they could get services.”
The Walk-In Clinic is only a start. Milner says St. Clair Child and Youth also plans to hold seminars on things such as anxiety for teens and their families.
Milner is excited to offer the expanded services saying the health team has been building its mental health services for over a year. The health team now has two social workers who meet with people in crisis and local doctors are trained to spot a number of different disorders in patients.
Milner says it is critical for family health teams to be able to help in a time when so many people are in need.
“Especially for young people; you see the impact it (mental illness) has on how they function, whether they keep up with their peers and in their relationships for the rest of their lives…That early intervention piece will make a difference …in terms of being able to go to school and being able to keep going.”
Milner adds the effects of mental illness “carries on into their adult life, that’s why it is so important to have those services.”