HAMILTON – March 3rd, 2022 – Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation is honoured to be the second recipient of a $500,000 Annual Initiative Grant established through collaboration with Canada's Children's Hospital Foundations (CCHF) and TD Bank Group (TD). Funding will support the expansion of the Adolescent Medicine Outpatient Gender Diversity Clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital.
Research shows that the risk of depression and suicide is greatly elevated for transgender youth relative to adults in Ontario. Being unable to access care dramatically increases the short-term and long-term risk of depression, suicidality and other mental health issues. This can also lead to individuals avoiding any form of health care altogether and engaging in risky behavior. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 children and youth in our expanded region require some level of care, and the average wait time is more than two years.
Establishing a comprehensive clinic can bring together a range of dedicated services to provide both medical and mental health care. In addition to the existing adolescent medicine team, specialists in social work, psychology, psychiatry, endocrinology, and speech-language pathology would collaborate within an environment that is optimized for the care of these patients.
The funds provided by TD are enabling the development of this comprehensive program. The evidence-based impact resulting from this dedicated funding will be used to engage the Ministry for longer-term, sustained funding.
With the current model, 60 to 70 new youths can receive basic care and support each year. This grant will support these 60 to 70 youths along with an incremental 25 to 30 youths to receive comprehensive care and support – enabling the program to fully support 85 to 100 unique patients annually.
A reduction in suicide and self-harm affects more than just the individual; it also impacts the youth’s family and friends – an estimated 400 to 600 people every year. The clinic can enhance access for those in a wide geographic area, including south-central Ontario and farther afield.
As part of a 10-year commitment to CCHF and building on a long history of support for children's hospitals in Canada, TD established an annual $500,000 grant program in 2020. The Annual Initiative Grant invites CCHF's member hospital foundations to apply for funding to deliver programs that address issues of top concern amongst adolescents.
"Adolescence is a period of dynamic physical, mental and social change when access to care and support - especially for trans and gender diverse youth - is critical to overall health and development," says Jayme Martin, District Vice President, Greater Hamilton District, TD Bank Group. "Through the TD Ready Commitment, our corporate citizenship platform, we are proud to support initiatives like the Adolescent Medicine Outpatient Gender Diversity Clinic that are working to create more equitable health outcomes for all."