Who We Are

A national youth mental health network uniting youth, families/carers, leading researchers, service providers and decision makers in revolutionizing services and leading ground-breaking research

What We Do

Improve quality & access to services: Building better services so that more youth and families/carers can get quality mental health help when and where they need it

Understand the impact: Leading cutting-edge research to understand youth mental health needs and impact of services across Canada

Engage youth and families: Partnering with, and listening to, youth and families/carers in everything we do – from our governance, to designing local services and supporting patient-led research projects

Lead innovation: Facilitating knowledge sharing and scaling up the best approaches across Canada and beyond

Why Should You Care?

Our system is broken. Youth and their families/carers looking for help face complicated systems, unwelcoming spaces and long wait-times

We don’t know what works. There is very little evidence on what service approaches and structures are effective, making it tough to know where to invest and in a way that actually helps

Youth mental health matters. Mental health is a leading concern for youth and their families across the country and the longer they wait for the help they need, the worse these problems can get

Our Services

ACCESS Open Minds service sites provide an easy, quick and welcoming place for youth aged 11 to 25( and their families/carers) to get the help they need. All sites provide culturally relevant mental health services and as well as access to physical health and sexual health services, traditional Indigenous programming/support, and other social services, all under one roof
  • Service Framework

    Developed by the ACCESS OM Network, our service framework is focused on improving the system where it typically fails youth and families/carers in their time of need.

    Early Identification

    Youth in need get help as soon as possible youth, families/carers and community members know where they can get help (active outreach)

    Rapid Access

    Help is offered right away and can be accessed through multiple ways (walk-in, phone, email, social media)

    Appropriate Care

    Youth are connected to the right services and are fully supported until they receive the right care they need

    Continuity of Care

    Service transitions are based on needs rather than administrative rules; there is no age cut off at age 18

    Youth and Family Engagement

    Youth and families/carers are engaged in the design of services and are partners in their own care

    Continuous evaluation

    Evaluation is integrated into all aspects of services to understand their impact, respond to local needs and to inform return on investment

  • Integrated Youth Services

    Integrated Youth Services (IYS) models including ACCESS Open Minds, headspace (Australia), Jigsaw (Ireland) all share a common goal – improving the health and well being of young people through high quality, youth-friendly services that are easy to access. The other common element is that they are all built with mental health services at their core.

    Mental health services are central to these IYS models because mental health is the leading concern for youth today, and mental health services are the hardest to design and deliver.

    With many Canadian governments now investing in IYS, there is an unprecedented opportunity to improve youth services across the country – but we need to get it right – and make sure these investments have their intended impact.

    To do this, we need ongoing investment in a pan-Canadian network of IYS that will monitor impact, promote innovation and ensure continuous quality improvement.

  • Core Values

Changing the Status Quo

ACCESS Open Minds is initiating a paradigm shift in youth mental health care in Canada. We are fostering approaches that will help youth and their families/carers get high-quality, appropriate and effective care when they need it. By doing so, we can help Canadian youth in need to fulfill their aspirations and realize their full potential.

Project Timeline

  • CIHR’s SPOR and GBF launch the TRAM initiative, which would award a research-practice network to design and test new service interventions for quality, timely and appropriate care for youth aged 11-25

  • ACCESS Open Minds is chosen as the successful TRAM Network to bring transformational change to youth mental health care in Canada

  • ACCESS OM Network Co-creation

    ACCESS OM Central Office is established at the Douglas Research Centre in Montréal

    Multi-stakeholder governance is set up to ensure youth and families/carers have power to effect real change

    Youth, families, service providers, researchers and decision makers come together to design ACCESS OM Service Transformation, Evaluation frameworks, and training programs

  • The first ACCESS OM site opens its doors to youth

    The first National Network Meeting is held in Montréal with over 100 attendees from across Canada, providing training and capacity building for clinicians and managers, along with meaningful networking and exchange across service sites and stakeholders.

  • ACCESS OM rolls out services at sites across Canada and supports the provincial roll out of new IYS initiatives (Foundry BC, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario) through the sharing of learnings and approaches including partnership creation and service integration, reducing wait times, engaging with Indigenous partners, and integrating meaningful evaluation into care.

  • Data is collected at ACCESS OM sites to understand the impact of services on the local population, on unmet youth mental health needs, on wait times and youth outcomes over time

  • The network continues its work by publishing initial results, scaling up best practices, leading knowledge translation, and providing a national platform for continuous improvement of youth mental health services