Accessing Mental Health Services

How to access services in a crisis situation

There is no fixed definition of a mental health emergency. If you feel that your situation is a crisis, we urge you to call the 24/7 Crisis Line. YSB’s trained professionals will provide immediate assistance and can also help you make a plan to get further support from our other services and programs.

24/7 Crisis Line Phone:

In Ottawa — 613-260-2360
Long distance toll-free — 1-877-377-7775

How to access mental health services

YSB offers a range of mental health services for youth (see individual programs for age ranges) and their families. YSB uses the Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA) to deliver our mental health services. This approach ensures that our clients get the service that best meets their needs, without internal wait lists.

For more information contact us: 613-562-3004
Crisis line: 613-260-2360

Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA): How it works

The first time you come in to YSB (whether it’s through a scheduled appointment or at the Youth Mental Health Walk-in Clinic), you will have a Choice session. During this meeting with a counsellor, you will have the time to talk about your situation, and together you and your counselor (and anyone who is with you) discuss what you’re hoping to achieve, and receive information about different alternatives to allow you to make an informed choice about what to do next. If you decide after the Choice appointment to continue with services, you will leave with a set appointment called partnership and the name of the counsellor best suited to work with you. You won’t have to repeat everything that you’ve explained in your Choice appointment, unless you would find that to be helpful.

For some people, a single appointment is enough to meet their needs.

Why CAPA works

Through CAPA, our team of counsellors work collaboratively, with one another and with you. We figure out which counselor has the right clinical skills to help you with your needs. CAPA is flexible, tailored to your individual needs, and gives you clear expectations. You will know, from the start, what to expect, and you will be involved in any decisions along the way.

Although family conflicts are often best resolved when all members are engaged in the process, we do see youth individually, and we also provide short-term support for parents who are concerned about an adolescent who is not ready to participate in counselling.

For more information contact us: 613-562-3004

Crisis line: 613-260-2360

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Milo's Story

Every year when I was little, I’d think “this will be the year that everything will be okay”. And every year, I’d be crushed. By the time I was 18 I couldn’t take my dad’s drinking or my mom’s crying anymore, so I packed a knapsack with the warmest clothes I had and I left. It was freezing cold, and I was alone…but I was free.

The next few months were rough and at times very scary. I spent nights in parks, doorways and even under bridges all with just an old sleeping bag a friend had given me. One night it was so cold that I walked until the sun came up, afraid that I would freeze to death if I slept.

It took me awhile to get over the embarrassment to start asking people for money. But, it was swallow my pride or stay cold and hungry. After two weeks of doing this I learned about YSB. I didn’t know it then but, in that moment, my life changed for the better. I got connected to YSB’s Young Men’s Emergency Shelter and my first night in the shelter I slept 11 hours. I felt so safe and secure. I remember that moment clearly and I felt so hopeful I now have my own apartment in one of YSB’s long-term housing buildings, am attending college to become a graphic designer, and am working part-time to support myself.

“For the first time I can remember, I’m really excited about my future. Growing up I just thought about getting by one day at a time.” I hope my story conveys just how life changing it was for me to be able to access YSB’s shelter during a really difficult time in my life. The team at YSB supported me every step of the way, and I’m grateful they were by my side. I hope you’ll consider taking the opportunity to transform the life of another young person like me today.


*While Milo’s story is real his name has been changed to protect his privacy