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Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for mental health services, particularly among youth. Programs have been set up to help them get better.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for mental health services, particularly among youth. Programs have been set up to help them get better.

Facilitating access to mental health care and creating pathways to support, especially for youth, have never been more important.

Through its RBC Future Launch program, designed to give young people the right tools to reach their full potential, RBC has made the future of youth its commitment to the community. The Youth Mental Well-being Project, which is part of this initiative, supports programs that help youth and families access the right care at the right time.

In connection with Mental Health Week, May 2–8, we’re featuring four organizations that are improving the mental health landscape through their outstanding teams and funding from the RBC Foundation.

Helping healthcare workers reach more young people


Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are common among young people and have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) will build on a Quebec-wide support network program in order to improve care pathways and integration of the best mental health services for youth. Drawing on the expertise of multidisciplinary specialists from the CHUM and elsewhere, this telementoring training program will support health and social services professionals working with young people.

The goal of this effort is to decentralize specialized and integrated care in order to improve the services received by Quebec youth by equipping professionals with the best evidence-based tools, interventions and skills needed to provide suitable care. The program will have a multiplier effect throughout Quebec through the creation of support materials on mental health issues and related problems specific to young adults and training of health and community workers.

Fondation Tel-jeunes

The mission of the Fondation Tel-jeunes is to help young people find their place in society and to develop their full potential. With the support of the RBC Foundation, Tel-jeunes implemented a new omnichannel platform a few years ago, allowing interventions via telephone, text, chat and email for Tel-jeunes and via telephone, chat and email for the parent line (LigneParents). Over the past year, more than 65,000 young people used Tel-jeunes’ services, through the intervention centre, the Espace TJ forum and workshops offered in high schools.

RBC supports the work of the Tel-jeunes intervention team to improve response rates with youth and to create online training for professionals. Some 55,000 young people contact the intervention centre each year. RBC’s financial support allows the organization to reach a greater number of teens across Quebec.

Creating new care pathways

SPOT Montréal

The Specialized Centre for Adolescent Mental Health (Le SPOT Montréal) at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) is one of the largest ambulatory centres in Canada for teens in suicidal crisis. Le SPOT is for adolescents aged 12–18 who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and depression. The Centre is close to the MCH, and patients are referred there from the MCH’s Emergency Department and are quickly brought in to a setting that is equipped to help stabilize psychosocial stress for patients and families. Beginning in the spring of 2022, the Centre will treat 600 young patients per year, increasing to 1,000 youth by the winter of 2023.

The MCH’s child psychiatry team has developed evidence-based therapies and workshops to provide young people and their parents with concrete tools to develop the social, emotional and interpersonal skills they need to better cope with crises and function more effectively at home and at school. The MCH will offer these training sessions, workshops and interventions—including individual therapy, working directly with parents and telephone coaching—through a hybrid in-person and virtual model based on patients’ geographic location.

Horizon 4 Saisons

The Horizon 4 Saisons program, supported by the three Montérégie CISSSs, is a therapeutic intervention program centred on nature and adventure that includes workshops and an outdoor stay. There is currently a waiting list of 500 to 800 youth for mental health care depending on the time of year.

After a pilot project that ended in 2019, and thanks to funding from the RBC Foundation, the youth programs department of the CISSS de la Montérégie Centre, in collaboration with the Fondation Hôpital Charles-Lemoyne, wishes to set up a permanent program and increase access to care by offering Horizon to approximately 100 young people in difficulty each year. The RBC Foundation will fund the regional deployment and expansion of the Horizon program.