Gathering information to best meet youth needs: What is the right amount?

Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario

At YWHO, sites offer Youth Wellness Teams (e.g., mental health, physical health, substance use) and Community and Social Support (e.g., education, employment, housing) services, as well as Skills and Well-Being (SWB) Services. SWB services include in-person and virtual unstructured/unscheduled drop-in activities, as well as more structured/scheduled cultural and engaging leisure activities and workshops/presentations for youth. Youth have reported enjoying these opportunities, and data has shown they are a well-received pathway for youth who may decide they then want wellness or community and social support services. Currently, only names are collected from youth for SWB activities and they are not registered “clients.” Is this sufficient to permit fulsome interactions during SWB activities, a seamless transition should youth then want mental/physical health or social support services, and/or to address potential crisis situations? We want to hear from youth, families, and others regarding what their views are as to the appropriate amount of information to collect across services (and frequencies) to meet youth needs.


Joanna Henderson
Dr. Joanna Henderson (she/they) is Director of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Executive Director of Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO). She is also a Senior Scientist at CAMH and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Her work aims to improve access to high quality, integrated services for youth with substance use and/or mental health concerns and their families.

Janis Wolfe
Dr. Janis Wolfe (she/her) is Clinical Practice Lead at Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO). Her work focuses on supporting the integration of the YWHO clinical service delivery model and the development of program standards for this integrated youth service. 

Devon Walpole
Devon (she/they) is a Settler/Mohawk living in Niagara. She is a compassionate, approachable, resilient, and empowering diplomat. A great advocate for youth who struggle with mental health and addiction like she did. She has been sober now for 7 months. She uses her voice to help those voices that aren’t being heard, one way by being part of the Provincial Indigenous Youth and Family Advisory Circle. She is creative and enjoys all types of arts, but has a passion for beading. She just started a business on Instagram selling beaded earrings back in November. 

Key takeaways

  • YWHO’s service model combines mental health and substance use services with primary care, and education/ employment/ community and rec services
  • They integrated the ‘Skills & Well-Being Activities’ into their service model after hearing from youth that programs should situate services in a broader perspective relevant to young adults, such as things like well-being, mental health, development and wellness
  • Core components of YWHO: Youth Engagement, Integrated Governance, Accessible Location, Culturally Diverse, Integrated Service Delivery, and Measurement Based Care
  • Presenters asked audience questions on best practices for information gathering, what YWHO should know from youth in order to safely provide skills and well-being activities

Key Learning Objectives (defined by presenters)

  1. Youth are experts in their own care. YWHO, a well-known integrated youth service, wants youth to feel as safe and comfortable as possible accessing our low-barrier Skills and Well-Being Services virtually or in person. We would like youth and families to co-create the YWHO approach to information-gathering by responding to three questions:
    1. What is the best amount of information to collect from youth accessing Skills and Well-Being (e.g., non-clinical, non-social service oriented) activities, and how?
    2. Should any types of services to youth ever be provided on an anonymous basis?
    3. What is the frequency with which demographic/personal/clinical information should be collected from youth to share with their circle of care and well as with youth themselves?

Key Themes

  1. Youth engagement
  2. Accessibility

Subscribe to Frayme
Stay up-to-date with Frayme and network opportunities through our newsletter, OnPoint. 

Join our Network
Network partners work alongside Frayme or other network partners in order to transform youth mental health and substance use services in Canada. Access the evidence, resources and tools you need to take action.