FirstOntario Credit Union Invests in the Mental Health of Hamilton Youth

To mark Canadian Mental Health Week, we’re celebrating a new three-year partnership with FirstOntario Credit Union. FirstOntario is more than just a financial institution. They care about our local community and believe in investing their profits and resources to provide both financial and hands-on support for important community causes that help create a healthier Hamilton.

A key focus of FirstOntario’s community impact initiatives is supporting youth health and wellness, and they recognize that mental health is a significant issue for youth in our community. FirstOntario has signed a three-year partnership agreement with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation to help support the mental health of our community and its youth.

A portion of that gift will support youth ages 17-25 as they access care at the Hospital’s Youth Wellness Centre (YWC). The funding will help to stock the YWC’s free Take What You Need Basket with culturally sensitive personal care products, nutritious food items, hats and mittens for cold weather and more.

The gift will also help purchase supplies for the YWC’s Art Drop-in Corner, provide gift items for the Holiday Market, and enable the YWC to offer bus tickets for clients who may need a safe ride to or from their therapy sessions.

“These might seem like little things, but they can mean everything when a youth comes through our doors seeking help,” says Lisa Jeffs, Manager of the Youth Wellness Centre and the Hospital’s Eating Disorders Clinic.

But that’s just the beginning. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation is pleased that FirstOntario Credit Union’s partnership will also include sponsorship of A Mental Health Morning on October 4, 2023, which returns during Mental Illness Awareness Week. Thanks to FirstOntario’s financial support, this event will highlight available mental health resources through the Youth Wellness Centre.

“At FirstOntario Credit Union, we’re committed to helping youth to understand financial literacy, to have access to healthy foods and find safe housing, but we also recognize that there can be no health without mental health. That’s why this three-year commitment supporting mental health initiatives and events at St. Joe’s is so important to us,” says Joanne Battaglia, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Communications and Community Partnerships at FirstOntario.

Mental Health and Addictions is the largest clinical program offered at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, but the demand for care in our community still outpaces the Hospital’s capacity. But thanks to the generous support of community partners like FirstOntario, this vital funding can help to augment provincial operating dollars, improve access to care and enhance the experience clients have when they come to St. Joe’s for care.