Crown Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett

Canada-wide network to support mental health, substance use services

eAwaz Medicine

The Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks connects integrated youth service hubs across Canada to create a learning health system to improve health outcomes for youth

Toronto – Research shows that 75% of mental illness begins before age 25. There is a need to make sure that young people have the mental health and substance use support they need, when and where they need it.

Communities across the country are already helping youth through Integrated Youth Services (IYS) sites. Now is the time to connect these sites that provide youth with equitable access to a range of health and social services that contribute to their health — primary care, peer support, work and study supports and more.

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced up to $18 million in funding for projects related to integrated mental health and substance use services for youth. As part of this investment, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is investing $1 million to establish a pan-Canadian “network of networks” known as the Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks (IYS-Net). An additional $15+ million will be provided by CIHR and philanthropic partners to expand IYS-Net across the country. Health Canada is also providing nearly $2 million in funding to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to work with IYS-Net and other partners to develop an Integrated Youth Services National Data Framework and Infrastructure.

IYS-Net will be a collaborative effort between the Government of Canada, partners and researchers across provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities to help youth access the services they need. The initiative will create a network of learning health systems through which research evidence, data, and youths’ lived experience are used to inform processes, policies, and practices to improve health equity and service delivery.

The goal of the IYS National Data Framework and Infrastructure project is to collect consistent data across provincial IYS networks. This investment will establish common measures, evaluation frameworks, governance, and digital platform infrastructure. This work will contribute to improved understanding of youth service needs and outcomes, help build and test new services, and help services pivot more effectively when crises arise. The investment will also aid in the shaping of future IYS programs, including services designed specifically to meet the needs of marginalized youth.

“Young people have always faced challenges as they deal with the changes in their lives. Over the past years, their mental health and substance use challenges have been exacerbated by the stresses and social disruption of the pandemic. Integrated Youth Services is a proven model that can lead to improved health outcomes. By supporting IYS-Net in its objective to bring together diverse services and perspectives from youth, care providers, partners, researchers, and people with lived and living experience will we ensure that all youth have the opportunity to receive the integrated care that they need to thrive, grow, and succeed.” – Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“Ontario has always been a strong advocate for Integrated Youth Services. The IYS model plays a key role in our $3.8 billion, 10-year Roadmap to Wellness by lowering barriers of access and providing upstream investments that create safe spaces for young Ontarians. By connecting our 22 Hubs to other Integrated Youth Service providers across the country we are proud to contribute to IYS-Net’s shared data infrastructure, aiding researchers and policy makers in making informed decisions on how we can ensure that our children and youth will grow into healthy adults”. –Michael A Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions