Call to action for youth facing barriers


May 2021

Dear Community Partners,

Whether we’re adults, seniors, youth, or children, we know that we’re all struggling with the effects of COVID 19.  But did you know that the instances of youth suicide – both local and nationwide – have increased as a result of the pandemic? Did you know that over the course of the pandemic there has been a marked decrease in youth mental health and wellbeing?  Canadian pediatricians are seeing a wide range of pandemic induced mental health issues in the youth they work with – from eating disorders to major depression. Given their severity, it is clear that these psychological effects will linger even after the immediate health crisis is over.

Our community is no exception to what is happening nationwide. As frontline workers in St. Thomas – Elgin, we know that our local youth are struggling.  Not only that, our youth are facing barriers to getting the help they need to combat the effects of the pandemic. Recently, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the Central Community Health Centre have had their access to psychiatrists for consultation, assessment and follow up reduced.  While CMHA Elgin has secured another psychiatrist, his hours are limited.   As a result, our local youth are left with a huge gap in service.  Overall, youth are facing waitlists at least 6 months long.

We can and must do better for our youth! Our local Community Action Group and its subcommittees endorse this letter as a call to action. Please consider reaching out to any contacts and connections you have who could bring additional supports to our community.

Our youth need us now more than ever! We look forward to making a difference for them together. For more information please contact Jenny Sager at or  519-631-9800 ext 250.

Warm Regards,

Kyle Rolph, Community Action Network Chair

Lindsay Rice, Taking Action on Youth Homelessness Chair

Jenny Sager & Jess Ross, CAN Youth Engagement Subcommittee Chairs

Youth Homelessness
Community Action for Children & Youth in Elgin

The Community Action Network for Children & Youth Elgin is a group of service providers who are committed to working together to find solutions and take action on issues that affect children & youth in St. Thomas & Elgin County. The Taking Action on Youth Homelessness Subcommittee as well as the Youth Engagement Subcommittee contain members of the some of the listed agencies as well.

Members of the group include representatives from the following agencies and/or organizations:

Addiction Services Thames Valley
Autism Ontario
Big Brothers/Big Sisters St. Thomas Elgin
Canadian Mental Health Association
Central Community Health Centre
Community Care Access Centre
Community Living Elgin & Ontario Early Years Centre
Coordinated Services Community Network (CSCN)
Destination Church
Elgin St. Thomas Public Health
Family and Children’s Services of St. Thomas-Elgin
Farmtown Canada
Fresh Start Support Services
Hospice Outreach Programs of Elgin (HOPE) 
Mennonite Community Services
Ontario 211
Salvation Army
Southwestern Public Health
St. Thomas-Elgin Social Services
St. Thomas Elgin Second Stage Housing
St. Thomas Police Service
St. Thomas Public Library
Talbot Teen Centre
Thames Valley District School Board
United Way
Violence Against Women Services Elgin County
West Elgin Community Health Centre
Youth Employment Counselling Centre
Youth for Christ
Youth Probation
YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin

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