A Message to the YWHO Community

In recent days, the global pandemic has consumed our news outlets, our conversations, our workplaces—our lives. The threat is very serious, and has created a tremendous amount of anxiety and uncertainty. But I’m inspired by our solidarity as service providers, and by the commitment that so many of you are demonstrating—a commitment to being flexible and responsive to the unique needs of the population we serve.

I want to thank each and every one of you who work hard to provide the youth of Ontario with the best care possible. The pressures you’re under are very real, and are likely to continue in the coming weeks. It’s important for you to know that the Backbone team is here to support you and will do everything possible to help you during this difficult moment.

Right now, many youth are having to cope with a lot of sudden, profound change. As a result, we can likely anticipate increased youth mental health needs and surges in demand for services, as other services close their doors. If in-person services are limited, please consider providing services remotely using technology—such as texting, phone and video conferencing, and social media—in order to stay connected with youth. Below, you will find a useful list of resources, compiled by CMHO, including some resources to help support a transition into online care. We aim to share more, as we identify them, in the coming days.

This situation is changing quickly. We will continue to keep an eye on guidance from public health and government, and support you in making decisions that fit your local context. I ask that you please keep the Backbone team informed of any new changes or updates to your site or hub, as they unfold. Some of you have begun sharing helpful ideas and resources in our CoP space on EENet Connect. Click here to join the conversation. The CoP offers a good place to share your innovative ideas around providing youth services during this challenging time.

As we seek to continue to support youth across Ontario, let’s remember to be kind and compassionate to one another, offering up our patience and understanding as we all navigate this unprecedented situation together. Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to supporting Ontario’s youth.


Joanna Henderson
Executive Director, YWHO


If you have questions about YWHO, please email info@ywho.ca

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