Addressing the Youth Mental Health Emergency

With a youth mental health emergency going on, we want to be a part of the solution.


At Hats On For Awareness, our mission is to break barriers and make mental health services more accessible to more people in the Greater Toronto Area. We raise awareness around the issues and the resources available. And—the core of what we do—we fundraise for our frontline resources.


One of those frontline resources is Humber River Health’s (Humber’s) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program and Urgent Care Clinic (Urgent Care Clinic). We’ve pledged $150,000 to enhance access to services for adolescent patients and to ensure they receive the care and education they need to manage their illness and recover from trauma. Our goal is to grow to support more programs like these, that are making a real difference in real lives every day. But for today, we want to share more about what makes Humber’s Urgent Care Clinic such a valuable and life-changing resource.


Did you know? Healthy emotional and social development in our early years lay the foundation for mental health and resilience throughout the lifespan. Yet 70% of persons living with a mental illness see their symptoms before age 18.

Source: Mental Health Commission of Canada



Humber’s Vital Work With Youth in Crisis


It’s easy to explain why we choose to fund Humber’s Urgent Care Clinic. The program—made up of incredibly knowledgeable and compassionate staff—is making a tangible difference for youth going through mental health crises.

Staffed by social workers and child psychiatrists, this unique program accepts referrals for young patients who arrive through Humber’s Apotex Emergency Department, and provides critical mental health care.

Urgent Care Clinic patients are typically enrolled for six or more multidisciplinary sessions. The multidisciplinary approach means that healthcare professionals from different fields come together to share perspectives and expertise and determine the best, customized treatment plan for each unique patient’s needs. Treatment always focuses on the patient as an individual and their family as a system.

This tailored approach, that looks at each case through a holistic, unbiased lens is what sets the program apart and allows young patients to make strides toward living full, satisfying lives.

And the support continues until a patient is ready to move on. Once a treatment plan has been finished, program staff continue to be available for aftercare appointments to help manage medications and set up patients with external resources.


The Urgent Care Clinic’s goals are noble:

  1. To help kids before the point of needing inpatient admission (hospitalization).
  2. To give young patients and their families hope for the future.



The Numbers Show the Need


Youth in the Greater Toronto Area have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and its aftermath, with many left behind in education, social and coping skills.


“Our clinic is helping to fill a gap that has always been present in the community, and despite huge system issues, we are helping to improve lives.” 

— Dr. Holiff, psychiatrist at the Urgent Care Clinic


Looking back over the past three years, the Urgent Care Clinic’s impact has clearly grown alongside the growing need for this kind of mental health care.

  • In 2021, Urgent Care Clinic staff supported 649 visits (120 unique patients).
  • In 2022, Urgent Care Clinic staff supported 780 visits (147 unique patients).
  • In 2023, Urgent Care Clinic staff supported 803 visits (174 unique patients).

Urgent Care Clinic Stats
Source: Humber River Health Foundation



Not only is the Urgent Care Clinic seeing more youth each year, the responses to treatment are overwhelmingly positive. In a post-discharge survey sent out in 2023, every Urgent Care Clinic parent responded “100%” to the question: “What are the chances of things getting better?”

For both Anara and Marco, two teens who accessed the Urgent Care Clinic for life-threatening anxiety-related issues, the comprehensive assessment and individualized treatment made all the difference. Stay tuned in to our blog to read Marco’s story.



Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns for children and adults, affecting upwards of 20% of children and adolescents over the lifespan.

Source: Anxiety Canada



Are You Interested in Being a Part of the Solution, Too?


By fundraising for programs like Humber’s Urgent Care Clinic, we’re acting on our goals of breaking barriers to mental health care access. You can make a difference with us, by supporting Hats On For Awareness. 

You can also get involved by participating in our Pass The Hat campaign 2024! From May 6th to 10th, we’ll be posting mental health facts and resources on social media and encouraging others to do the same. It’ll be a week of community uniting to offer solidarity, engaging in heartfelt conversations and story sharing, and giving what we can to increase mental health care access. When you put on a hat, share your thoughts, and tag us on your socials that week, you’ll be helping raise awareness so that more of our youth have somewhere to turn in a crisis. Follow us on Instagram or sign up to learn more, today.

Share via:


  • frontline resources
  • case study
  • Humber River Health Foundation
  • Pass The Hat 2024
  • Pass The Hat For Mental Health
  • mental health
  • youth mental health emergency