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(Photo: TDCB)

6 youth wellness hubs announced for N.B.

By Tara Clow Jan 19, 2024 | 2:03 PM

$6 million over three years will help create six youth wellness hubs in New Brunswick, officials announced on Friday.

Minister for Mental Health Services Sherry Wilson says three will be fully up and running by the end of this year and the other three by the end of 2025.

They will be located in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Miramichi and two Indigenous communities, and will be available for youth between the ages of 12 and 24.

“These hubs are going to offer services that we have, but they are not accessible for our youth right now. So they are going to provide social services, jobs, different assistance in every area,” Wilson adds.

Each site will provide access to a wide range of support either directly or through established networks, including mental health and substance use support, primary health care, peer support for both youth and families and other services based on local needs and priorities.

“It’s going to take the whole community to address mental health issues in our youth and province,” Wilson says.

$4 million is coming from the province, while the Medavie Foundation and the Bell-Graham Boeckh Foundation Partnership are each providing $1 million.

“Youth today face different challenges than they did 20 to 30 years ago. When you see numbers going from 39 per cent to 56 per cent within a year of young people feeling distress. That is a big number. For Medavie, we look at this as a way to help,” said Medavie Foundation CEO Bernard Lord.

Medavie Foundation CEO Bernard Lord. (Photo: TDCB)

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) will oversee the administration of the initiative and will soon begin community engagement and implementation.

“We all want to be part of a better New Brunswick. We are here today because of youth and caregivers who have used their voices in such impactful ways. We are also here, not forgetting those that we lost when services were not available.  Today is the beginning of better days for our youth and mental health in New Brunswick,” says Christa Baldwin of the CMHA.

Christa Baldwin, Canadian Mental Health Association (Photo: TDCB)

Health Minister Bruce Fitch says funding will be used to hire the counsellors, social workers, case workers and other staff who will be needed for these centres

He couldn’t say exactly how many youth in the province these centres will serve.