"Imagine a young person is finally willing to tell someone ‘I need help and I need it now,’ and then hear ‘We’re going to have to put you on a waitlist for months.’ It’s not the right answer. People can get more desperate and use substances to treat their worsening symptoms. They can end up in the hospital or worse. We need to get them into treatment sooner.”
Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, FEMAP Founder & Dr. Joseph Rea Chair in Mood Disorders
The majority of mental illness starts before age 25; yet this age group experiences the largest gap in mental health services. FEMAP fills this gap for youth aged 16-25 who are experiencing the onset of mood and anxiety disorders. If left untreated, these illnesses can cause irreparable damage and lead to chronic depression, social isolation, homelessness, and other tragic outcomes.
FEMAP is the first program of its kind in Canada with a unique model aimed at reversing the “first episodes” of mental illness before they lead to long-term damage. It offers a comprehensive range of services such as psychology, psychiatry, social work, addictions counselling, family therapy and group therapy.
Published studies show that FEMAP patients have a lower rate of emergency department visits following treatment, compared to patients outside the program. Another published study showed FEMAP patients experienced long-term and sustained improvements in their mental health following their treatment.
Patients say they feel heard; they feel validated and, most importantly, they are getting the vital help they need to lead healthy, happy lives.
Currently, it can take between 7 to 10 months from the first assessment to start treatment. For a patient who is courageous enough to reach out for help now, the long wait can have a devastating impact. To help youth suffering with mental illness in our community, the issue of a growing waitlist needs to be addressed now.
In order to avoid heartbreaking outcomes, FEMAP needs support to expand its services and double its capacity. The expansion will help reduce wait times and provide new/more services for current and future patients that are reaching out for help when they are most vulnerable.