Too many young people are struggling

As many as 1 in 5 children and youth in Ontario will experience some form of mental health problem. 5 out of 6 of those will not receive the treatment they need. That’s because young people living in psychological pain are reluctant to speak up, and 63% cite stigma as the reason. Then, there’s the sheer complexity of the mental health-care system, with well over 1,000 treatment providers, centres and programs for mental illness in Ontario.

A recent survey by Statistics Canada showed that 64% of youth aged 15 to 24 reported a negative impact on their mental health since physical distancing began. With the onset of COVID-19, the mental health care system became even more challenging to navigate, with many services pivoting the type of services they offer and changes in how it was offered.

About the Family Navigation Project

Since 2013 and throughout this pandemic, the Sunnybrook's Family Navigation Project has been there to guide families to the right treatments and services for young people with mental illness and addiction.

Team members partner with families to help them navigate the mental health system and related services. This way, families connect to appropriate and credible assessment and treatment resources to get the assistance they need when they need it. Learn more.

Funded entirely by donations

The Family Navigation Project is 100% donor funded, so it depends on caring people like you to fundraise knowing your efforts will have a life-changing impact on youth suffering with mental illness and addiction. By volunteering to collect donations through RBC Race for the Kids, you’re joining a community working together to help youth reach their potential.

Aisha's story

Aisha never had an easy time in school. Years of relentless bullying only made things worse. By her 22nd birthday, she was battling depression, bulimia and addiction. Aisha’s parents had become desperate and frightened. While they managed to find help for Aisha, none of it seemed to have a lasting impact.

Then, through a friend, the family learned about the Family Navigation Project (FNP) at Sunnybrook. That was a turning point. A navigator helped find a live-in program for Aisha. A case manager, dietitian, rehabilitation worker and substance abuse counsellor were identified to support her. Together they put Aisha on a journey to recovery.

Today, the family has the confidence to hope again - to look at the future not with fear, but with optimism. Aisha is happier and back at school, living independently while training to be a chef.