Canada support for Integrated Youth Services

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks (IYS-Net)

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, through the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction and Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, have partnered with the Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF), the Bell-GBF Partnership and the RBC Foundation through RBC Future Launch to establish the Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks (IYS-Net).

IYS-Net will work with partners and stakeholders across the country to fund research and knowledge mobilization activities to help create a Canada-wide network of provincial and territorial learning health systems for Integrated Youth Services (IYS). This means that, through this pan-Canadian “network of networks,” research evidence, data, and the lived experiences of youth will be used to inform processes, policies, and practices, to improve health equity, service delivery, and ultimately, achieve better health outcomes for Canada’s youth because they are informed by youth.

IYS is transforming how youth health and social services are delivered in communities across Canada, including mental health and substance use health services. IYS helps ensure that youth (typically in the range of 12-25 years old) have equitable access to the range of services they need, when and where they need them. IYS aims to address historically fragmented supports for youth by providing one point of access to integrated services such as mental health and substance use counselling, peer support, primary care and more. IYS-Net will advance IYS in Canada by improving equitable and inclusive access to evidence-informed health services for all youth, with mental health and substance use health services at the core.

IYS-Net is being developed in phases. The preliminary phase involves the $1 million investment announced today by the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health. This investment is being directed to the three most established provincial networks for IYS: Foundry (British Columbia, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (Ontario), and Aire ouverte (Quebec), as well as an Indigenous IYS network drawn from ACCESS Open Minds. These networks will lay the foundation for IYS-Net and carry out research that will generate evidence, which will help improve continuous service improvements, as well as help inform the development of pan-Canadian standards for mental health and substance use services in IYS.

The next phase of IYS-Net will build upon the work from the preliminary phase and expand this pan-Canadian “network of networks” to existing and new IYS Networks from more provinces and territories. More than $15 million is available co-funded by CIHR and philanthropy to fund up to 14 grants.

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