GUELPH POLITICAST #284 – Expanding the Mental Health Landscape

Last week, ground was broken for the future Centre for Children’s Mental Health and Developmental Services Building, which will come to be known as the Grove. When it opens in 2023, the Grove will offer 30 service providers across three floors helping 9,000 local children, youth and their families needing mental health and developmental services, support and treatment each year, and all courtesy of a unique and generous partnership.

The idea of Integrated Youth Services Network has been covered on this podcast before. The concept involves the creation of a safe space for youth aged 12 to 26, and offering a “one-stop shop” service hub to address the mental health, community and social services needs of young people. Over two dozen different community groups led by the Rotary Club of Guelph helped get things this far, and there are already three smaller hubs in business across Wellington County in Erin, Fergus, and Palmerston.

Aside from the advancement in the cause of mental health, this project is notable because of a $50 million donation to make it possible, which is the largest private donation to mental health services in Canadian history. The person writing that proverbial cheque is Robert Eilers, president and director of the Vesterra Group of Companies. Eilers joins us on this week’s show along with Helen Fishburn, the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington, who will be the new building’s biggest tenant.

In their joint appearance on this week’s podcast, Fishburn and Eilers will each talk about the Grove project from their own unique perspectives. Fishburn will discuss how we’re now entering the mental health surge of the pandemic, and how the new building will improve the local delivery of mental health services. And Eilers will share his very personal story about his own struggles with mental health as a young person, and how he got the help he needed to become the successful business person he is today.

So let’s talk about building up mental health services on this episode of the Guelph Politicast!

To learn more about The Grove and integrated youth wellness hubs in Ontario and throughout our region, you can go the Grove’s website here. To learn more about mental health services in the region, go to the CMHA Waterloo Wellington website, and to learn more about the Vesterra Group of Companies, you can visit their website here.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Photo of Robert Eilers and Helen Fishburn courtesy of CMHA Waterloo Wellington’s Facebook page.

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