OTTAWA, ON., Aug. 20, 2020 – Thanks to a $250,000 donation to The Royal from RBC Foundation, clients at the Youth Services Bureau (YSB) and students at Algonquin College will have improved access to virtual care to support their mental health needs. Transitional youth (ages 16-24) will now be able to meet with a psychiatrist from The Royal to create a customized treatment plan.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual care is more important than ever. Youth and parents alike are increasing their dependence on this lifeline to expert care. In May 2019, there were approximately 600 virtual care appointments at The Royal. In May 2020, that number exploded to approximately 2,500 appointments.
“So many of the vulnerable and marginalized youth in our community are unable to receive the specialized mental health care support needed to help transition into a healthy and stable adulthood. Thanks to RBC Foundation, we can better serve this population virtually and help put them on the right track to mental wellness,” Darren Graham, Director of Community Services, Youth Services Bureau.
Thanks to this gift, hundreds more transitional youth will have access to virtual mental health care and support.
Thanks to a donation from the RBC Foundation, there is a happy story and a life saved.
“When we heard about The Royal’s new program to offer more counselling virtually, we knew we had to help, especially right now as more youth are struggling,” says Marjolaine Hudon, Regional President - Ontario North and East, RBC Royal Bank. “Young people need this right now. Greater access to specialized mental health services from the comfort of their home also helps youth who may have a difficult time overcoming the stigma of mental-health issues.”
“COVID-19 may have forced everyone into their home, however, it also enlightened us to possibilities when it is not ideal to physically enter a health care clinic,” says Susan Farrell, Vice-President, Patient Care Services and Community Mental Health, The Royal. “RBC Foundation has been well ahead of the curve. They innovated by supporting virtual mental health care long before we had to go virtual. We are grateful for their vision and partnership.”
Algonquin College will also benefit from the RBC Foundation gift and was able to begin offering virtual mental health services to their students commencing in Oct. 2019.
“RBC’s generous support will help secure and expand Algonquin College’s dynamic mental health partnership with The Royal,” said Claude Brulé, President and CEO of Algonquin College. “Over the last year, The Royal has provided high-quality training for Algonquin College clinicians, delivered an eight-part speaker series, and offered a weekly psychiatry clinic which has been enthusiastically received by students. At Algonquin College, the mental health of our learners and employees continues to be a top priority. During the ongoing pandemic, mental health resources have become more important than ever – as has the need for remote access to resources and services.”
“Algonquin College’s mental health partnership with The Royal is so important because it lets students know that they are not fighting that battle alone – that there are supports in place to guide, encourage and support us,” says Joshua Kellar, a Social Service Worker program graduate who has benefitted from the College’s mental health resources. “It’s that kind of support that has allowed me to succeed, to thrive in my program, and to help others through my work as a placement student. I have had the privilege of seeing that the mental health of students is a top priority to the faculty at Algonquin and a thoughtful collaboration in how to empower students to live their best lives.”
“This initiative exemplifies The Royal’s new vision of being a hospital without walls,” says Farrell.
Beginning today, YSB staff will start an education and training series for staff followed by increased virtual mental health services for youth.
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About The Royal
The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental health care, teaching and research hospitals. Our mandate is simple: to help more people living with mental illness and addiction into recovery faster.