Kitchener-Waterloo

Mental health, addictions support centre for children set to start construction in Guelph

A new centre for children's mental health and development is slated for Guelph's north end, with construction beginning Thursday.

Officials will gather for a groundbreaking and launch event Thursday

Participants in a youth wellness hub operated by Integrated Youth Services Network. A new centre for children's mental health and development is slated for Guelph, Ont.'s north end, set for completion in about 14 months. (Submitted by Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington)

A new centre for children's mental health and development is slated for Guelph's north end.

Construction will begin Thursday at 737 Woolwich St., Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHA WW) announced.

The centre will offer programs related to mental health services, child psychiatry, crisis supports, assessments and therapy.

Helen Fishburn, CEO of CMHA WW, said the centre will help about 9,000 people per year, which is crucial, especially during a global pandemic that further impacted the community.

"The longer that the pandemic has gone, we've seen the toll on children and youth in particular and of course their parents."

Fishburn said that before the pandemic, 11 children were waiting to be seen by a psychiatrist, and now it's about 184. The eating disorders program, which serves children and youth, used to have a two-month wait but that's now 15 months.

Currently, 141 children are waiting for counselling and treatment services care, she said.

Centre to house youth wellness hub

The three-storey, 60,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art building will take about 14 months to complete.

The centre will also be home to a new youth wellness hub operated in partnership by the Integrated Youth Services Network (IYSN), which plans to share its new brand identity Thursday during an event for the groundbreaking.

The hub will offer a variety of services, from resumé writing to mental health and addiction supports.

The new building was funded by the province, a private donor who will be named on Thursday and the County of Wellington.

The announcement will be attended by local and provincial politicians, as well as local youth.

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