Integrated Hubs Project

Community-based Mental Health Service Hubs for Youth

The Valuing Mental Health: Next Steps (Next Steps) was released June 2017 in response to Valuing Mental Health: Report of the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee 2015 and called for a transformation of Alberta’s addiction and mental health system to better integrate child and adult services in order to better serve the needs of youth.

PolicyWise for Children & Families has been contracted to create a framework that will support community-led implementation of 2 to 4 Community-based Mental Health Service Hubs for Youth (Integrated Hubs) in small to medium population centres in Alberta for youth (ages 11 to 24).  To develop a provincial implementation framework, adaptable to local context that allows for evidence-informed, community-based hubs to address youth mental health, PolicyWise will:

  • Understand and build on “what works” in community-based youth mental health services (prevention, early intervention focus, etc.).
  • Initiate a community engagement and capacity-building process that will support the establishment of integrated youth service hubs in small urban centres in Alberta.

Integrated Hubs

Integrated Hubs are considered as the integration of health and social services under one roof in a youth-friendly environment. They typically focus on prevention and early intervention and the provision of resources to help youth manage their concerns and navigate pathways to specialized services, as required. Integrated Hubs are an emerging practice based on evidence that the majority of mental health concerns emerge before the age of 24, and that the current system of care is split between child and adult services.

Several overarching principles to guide the implementation and operation of Integrated Hubs exist. These include accessibility, safety, and youth engagement in the Integrated Hub. Integrated Hubs are most effective when:

  • They respond to community needs, communities lead, and when they receive support from pre-existing relationships among services providers.
  • Youth are co-producers in the development, engagement, and implementation.
  • There is an integration of primary care into mental healthcare.
  • Stepped mental healthcare is a core service provided.
  • They focus on supporting transitions for youth.

For more information about “what works” in Integrated Hubs, please see the following Environmental Scan.