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Downtown Healthcare Collaborative

Choices for Youth (CFY) has been working in partnership with the Downtown Health Collaborative (DHC) for several years. This partnership allows young people to access mental health and general services on-site at our Integrated Youth Services site five days a week.

The DHC provides a complement of doctors, nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists to CFY – This, paired with a mental health and addictions counsellor through Eastern Health, provides a variety of services to young people through a hybrid system that accommodates both drop-ins and appointments. The DHC harm reduction nurses’ mobile team also stops by the IYS site regularly to provide additional support.

Our partnership with the DHC eliminates many of the barriers that young people typically face when accessing health services. We do not require MCP cards or any other form of identification prior to accessing services and we help young people access that documentation when it is needed to avail of other services.

Katie Hopkins, Outreach and Youth Engagement Team Lead

“I think a beautiful thing about the Downtown Health Collaborative is that it is a psychologically safer way for youth to get their medical needs met.”

Our Integrated Youth Services (IYS) site is a safe space where young people can feel comfortable accessing the healthcare they need without facing the judgement and stigma commonly encountered at walk-in and emergency services. The flexibility provided by the drop-in model means that young people have shorter wait times before seeing a medical professional and that those who are transient or have trouble keeping appointments can access the health services they need when they need them.

This partnership would not be effective without the program support provided by CFY’s Outreach and Youth Engagement (OYE), Upstream NL and Momma Moments teams. Our teams collaborate with medical professionals in several areas, including patient bookings and scheduling, safety and security, facilitating communication with youths, supporting youth while they wait for services, and a variety of other daily tasks that make the overall process run smoothly for both the young people and the medical professionals. Our teams also do a lot of follow-up work to support this partnership, such as bringing youth to the hospital to access required services that we do not provide at our IYS site.

Erica Norman, Outreach and Youth Engagement Team Lead

“The Doctors are really supported. They are here on their own – they don’t come with a team or a receptionist – so we become their team when they are here. It’s a key partnership that Outreach has become a part of, and we gladly do it because young people get really good care from it."

CFY’s partnership with the DHC is a great example of how our IYS site has evolved to meet the evolving needs of young people. Through further cooperation and collaboration with community partners, we can continue building better systems for youth.

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