Age Gap Means Mental Health Stumbling Block for Youth in Ontario

At 18, patients age out of treatment programs and face long gaps in care. This forced removal from the system they may have been in from young children or early adolescence is difficult.


Molly Schoo, who started mental health treatment when she was a child, is now a public outreach speaker for youth mental health. Schoo says she thinks there should be a care system stretching from age 17 to 30. (GEOFF ROBINS / TORONTO STAR)


Molly Schoo started mental health treatment at age 12.

Diagnosed with depression and an eating disorder, she was admitted to SickKids in Toronto and continued to get youth-oriented care throughout her teens.

By the time she went away to university, though, she was feeling better and no longer getting care at the children’s hospital.

Then she relapsed and had to withdraw from school.

She would have liked to return to SickKids but she couldn’t. She was now over 18 and too old for the services she had known for years.

“Trying to find care after that was excruciatingly painful,” says Schoo, now 23.

Schoo is one of many young people in Ontario, and across Canada, who hit a stumbling block in their mental health care because of the gaps between youth and adult services, which can lead to a different therapist, different institution, even a different government ministry handling your care.


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