Longueuil, December 5, 2022 – The CISSS de la Montérégie‐Centre and the Fondation Hôpital Charles‐LeMoyne announced the launch of Horizon, an innovative intervention program for youth based on nature and adventure, along with a $1 million donation to deploy it across the Montérégie. This announcement was made in the presence of the Minister Responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant.
Horizon is for young people between the ages of 13 and 18 who are experiencing psychosocial or mental health difficulties. Thissustained group therapy approach is an innovative solution that compliments the current service offer for young people, and is adapted to their changing needs
More concretely, the young participants attend preparatory therapeutic workshops and spend time at a camp with activities chosen based on their personal goals (intervention plan) and abilities. Caseworkers support them throughout the program. Nature and adventure expose them to experiences outside of their daily norms, giving them the opportunity to develop new behaviours and skills. These experiencestake them out of their comfortzones and help to reduce their anxiety, learn new things, and focus on their strengths rather than their difficulties. The group setting also promotes the development of trusting relationships, a support network and the opportunity to push their limits.
The successful initiative started in 2019 in the form of a pilot project involving a dozen youth from the CISSS de la Montérégie‐Centre. In 2022‐2023, 70 young people from the region and their parents were enrolled in the project and in 2023‐2024, the goal is 140 young people and their parents.
With the $1 million contribution from donors, hundreds of young people from the Montérégie will be able to participate in the Horizon program experience over the next few years. We would like to highlight the support of RBC as a major partner; the Caisses Desjardins – driving forces of the Philanthropists’ Wine Cave in support of youth mental health; Bell Let’s Talk; and Pratt & Whitney Canada.
“I believe in innovative approaches like Horizon. There are major needs in mental health, particularly among young people, and the pandemic only made the situation worse. As an organization, we must diversify our approaches and our knowledge and think outside the box. I’m proud of this initiative. The positive testimonials from participants and caseworkers encourages us to continue in this direction.”
Richard Deschamps, President and CEO, CISSS de la Montérégie‐Centre
“Our generous donors’ commitment to supporting youth mental health has made them vital partnersin building a healthy generation. It’s urgent that we take action to help the young people in our region deal with life’s challenges. As long as there are needs in the community, the Foundation will be there to encourage innovative initiatives and help more young people overcome these challenges.”
Benoit Lemieux, Chair of the Board of Directors, Fondation Hôpital Charles‐LeMoyne
“I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to extend the Horizon program to other CISSSs in the Montérégie. This program has proven itself to be effective on the ground and is part of the measures deployed by the government to honour our commitment to make mental health services more accessible to our young people. I wish to thank all of the partners involved with us in implementing these various programs.”
Lionel Carmant. The Minister Responsible for Social Services
“I’d really like to thank Horizon for having shown me several strategies, and introduced me to new people who I now trustso much and who I can talk to about anything without feeling judged or feeling like an alien.”
Mégan, a 14‐year‐old Horizon participant
A research project to ensure the program’s success
With the goal of documenting and identifying the effects of the Horizon program, a team of research professors from the Centre de recherche Charles‐Le Moyne and Université de Sherbrooke are assessing, among the participants of the pilot project, its impact on anxiety, feelings of personal self‐efficacy, social skills and the attainment of the personal goals the youths set with their caseworkers.
Some important numbers:
- At least 50% of youth 16 years of age and over present moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety or depression.
- Three times more high school youth from all grades report passable or poor mental health compared with the results of a similar study conducted in January 2020
- Close to one youth in two between the ages of 12 and 25 (48%) are currently reporting symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder or major depression
Source: Study conducted by Université de Sherbrooke on the psychological health of youth between the ages of 12 and 25, 2021
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Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Montérégie‐Centre
Martine Lesage, Senior Communications and Media Relations Advisor 514‐206‐3017