Canada and partners establish Canada-wide network to support integrated mental health and substance use services for youth

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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

November 28, 2022 – Toronto, ON – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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.

Today, the Honourable 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.

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