Funded by the Ontario Government, ConnexOntario provides free and confidential information on services and support for people dealing with alcohol and drug addiction, mental illness and problem gambling.
“For post-secondary school students — especially those in first year — adapting to a new city, heavy course workload, and being away from their families can be a really stressful,” says Brad Davey, ConnexOntario’s Executive Director.
Navigating a complex system of resources is not easy. That’s where ConnexOntario can help. “Our systems navigation specialists are highly trained in using our database to connect people to the appropriate resources and they’re accessible 24/7, 365 days a year,” says Davey.
mindyourmind program geared to youth mental health
One of those resources is Connex’s mindyourmind, an online mental health program geared to youth and young adults. “Whether a student is struggling with school pressures, loneliness, depression, addiction, or trying to help a friend, this is one additional resource to help that person figure out if they need to reach out for professional help,” says Davey.
Mindyourmind’s BeSafe app is a system navigation tool that helps guide young people through the process of reaching out and points them to community resources they can use at a time of crisis. “It also allows them to create a digital safety plan, so they know how to keep safe during a crisis,” says Heather Miko-Kelly, Program Manager for mindyourmind.
All mindyourmind resources, tools and apps are created in collaboration with youth aged 14 to 29. “Engaging directly with young people to create resources that are applicable and relevant to them has been key to the program’s success,” says Miko-Kelly. One of those young people is Scarlett, 26, who personally lives with mental illness. “Mindyourmind has made it easier for me to find the right tools and resources thanks to the insightful and well-versed connections knowledge and awareness I have gained through my work with them,” she says.
Another volunteer, Elora, 21, who has had the lived experience of mental illness, knows that navigating the mental health system can be very challenging. “But resources like ConnexOntario and mindyourmind made it easier by guiding people who are in need of support,” she says.
New ConnexGO app designed for quick and easy access to services
ConnexOntario’s recently launched ConnexGO app is designed to make it easier still for students to access mental health services. It combines resources and information from the previous drug and alcohol, mental health and problem gambling helplines all in one place. “This new app is very mobile friendly and it’s not only an access to a service directory but also a quick way for people to call, email or webchat with us,” says Davey.