Waiting For Change


Why “Waiting For Change”? In 2015 the Youth Action Committee members drew from their own personal experiences and stories told to them by other youth, that child and youth mental health wait lists were extremely long and was impacting their overall well-being. In response, the YAC hosted its inaugural Youth Mental Health Summit, Waiting for Change. The goal of the summit was to engage youth in the creation of specific policy recommendations to improve wait times for mental health services and to better support, children, youth and families when they are unable to access the treatment they need. To learn more about the Youth Summit click here  and to view photo’s click here!

After two years of collecting stories and youth-led recommendations from other young people across the province to address the issue of wait times in the child and youth mental health system on Monday, November 21, our provincial Youth Action Committee released its first zine, Waiting for Change! This zine outlines four recommendations for how we can make change happen: two ideas to shorten wait times and two ideas for helping youth manage while they wait for services.

This Zine was written by the members of the 2016 Youth Action Committee and informed by the youth of Ontario.



The Impact

img_7620In November 2016 the Youth Action Committee met with Minster of Children and Youth Services, Micheal Coteau to discuss their newly released Zine, Waiting For Change. Minister Coteau sat down with members of The YAC to hear first hand how young people are currently experiencing the child and youth mental health system and to go over the recommendations to reduce wait times in Ontario. YAC members left with a feeling of hope and optimism that their voices were heard and feel confident child and youth mental health is a top priority for Minister Coteau.

On November 30, Minister Coteau released a statement supporting the youth-led recommendations outlined in the Waiting for Change Zine. The New Mentality firmly believes that youth with mental illness must contribute to creating a better mental health system. Without their voice are system will never meet the needs of our young people. We are very encouraged to see Minister Coteau’s commitment to youth voice in the mental health system.

“We will continue to relay on the advice from young people and their families, from our Indigenous partners and from our independent officers of the legislature, such as the Auditor General, to develop a responsive system that positions all kids for success. In fact, just last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with young people from the New Mentality Youth Action Committee — a group of bright, engaging individuals from across the province who are working hard to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. I support the committee’s recommendations contained in Waiting for Change, as they will go a long way towards helping shape a stronger system in Ontario.”

For the full statement click here.

Check back for updates on the Waiting For Change project as we track the impact of this ground breaking Zine!
We would like to thank the members of the 2015 and 2016 Youth Action Committee, Amanda, Travis, Nicole, Sabrina, Matt, Zara, Cherish, Shannon, and Beth for dedicating their time, energy and passion to this project. As well, Kimberly Cheung for her beautiful design of the Zine. We would also like to thank the attendees of the 2015 Waiting For Change Youth Summit, CAMH National Youth Advisory Committee, Disable the Label 2016 participants, and all the other young people who shared their voice and ideas to improve wait times in Ontario. Finally, we would like to thank Children’s Mental Health Ontario for supporting the Youth Action Committee’s vision for this project.