Supporting youth with mental health and/or addiction concerns and their families in their journey to accessing care.

The Family Navigation Project (FNP) knows that living with mental illness and addictions is hard but believes that getting help shouldn’t be. FNP is a non-profit program designed to provide expert navigation services for mental health and addictions (MHA) concerns among youth aged 13-26 and their families, living in the Greater Toronto Area. As a free service offered through phone and email, FNP’s vision is that “no family feels lost in the mental health and addiction system”. Our clinically trained navigators use a family-centred model to ‘get in the boat’ with families to help youth access timely and specialized MHA care. FNP was developed by families, for families and continues to incorporate the voice of lived experience through the Family Advisory Council and a peer support staff position: the Parent Advocate with Lived Experience. Since 2013, FNP has supported more than 3500 youth and their families and we’re just getting started!

Presenters and slide deck

Sugy Kodeeswaran, Executive Director, Family Navigation Project, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sugy Kodeeswaran is the Executive Director of the Family Navigation Project (FNP) based out of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Sugy is passionate about innovation in healthcare, and is committed to helping youth who experience mental health and/or addiction issues, and their families navigate the complex and often confusing system. Sugy has more than 20 years of management experience in the health research and innovation sectors and prior to joining FNP in 2018, she held leadership roles at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Ontario Genomics. Her diverse background gives her the skills and vision to lead FNP to expand and provide support to more youth and families, and develop an extensive network of connections with various stakeholders to build upon FNP’s strong foundation of expert navigation services. Outside of work, Sugy enjoys travelling the globe, enjoying Toronto’s diverse food scene and spending time with her three children.

Doris Jayson, Member of the Family Advisory Council, Family Navigation Project, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Doris Jayson is a member of the Family Advisory Council of the Family Navigation Project (FNP) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She has been involved with FNP since 2014 and, as a FAC member, brings her lived experience perspective to several different aspects of the program including evaluation, research and recruitment of other FAC members. Her involvement in the Family Navigation Project evolved due to the emergence of her daughter's mental health challenges. Her daughter is now 24 years old and able to manage her illness, due to the treatment she received. Additionally, she holds a degree in Clinical Nutrition from Ryerson University. She worked as a Clinical Dietitian at The Toronto Hospital for several years. Doris has three children and resides in Toronto, Ontario. Outside interests include skiing, biking and hiking.


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Key Learnings

  • Develop an understanding of FNP’s model of youth- and family- centered navigation.
  • Gain an understanding of the continuum of family engagement.
  • Appreciate the nuances and untapped potential of meaningful family engagement

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