Dr. Jay Children's Grief Program at Yorktown - Yorktown Family Services

Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Program at Yorktown


Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Programs Live on at Yorktown:

Provide the Gift of Healing to a Grieving Child or Youth

In Canada, 1 in 14 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the time they turn 18. According to the Children and Youth Grief Network, in a year almost 40,000 children under 18 will experience the death of a parent or sibling who lives in their home. The death of a parent or sibling is one of the most stressful life events that a child or youth can experience.

Yet children and youth face numerous barriers to accessing the mental health support they desperately need to heal. Children’s Mental Health Ontario reports that children and youth are waiting on average 67 days for counselling, with the longest wait times in the province reaching 2.5 years. Meanwhile, funding in real terms to child and youth mental health centres has decreased by almost 50% over the past 25 years.

Youth and families are struggling now more than ever before. The strain of the past two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for community mental health supports and Yorktown Family Services has seen a 40% increase in requests for services. For many children, youth, and young adults experiencing the loss of a loved one it has caused or exacerbated existing mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety.

Yorktown has been responding to the needs of children, youth, and families for almost 30 years and recognized that the demand for grief and bereavement programs established by Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre has a home at Yorktown.  For children and youth who experience profound grief, accessing support as soon as possible is critical. In response, Yorktown offers Rapid Access Therapy, offered virtually or in-person at our walk-in clinic at the West Toronto Youth Hub. Rapid Access Therapy provides children and youth experiencing the loss of a loved one access to a therapist; no appointment is required.

But we need your help. 

The Grief and Bereavement Program is a critical addition to programs offered at our Infant, Child and Family Centre and the West Toronto Youth Hub and will ensure that children, youth, and young adults, especially hard-to-reach, vulnerable, and at-risk youth become connected to all the supports they require.  With your help, we can ensure that those in need will access the critical help and resources they require when experiencing the loss of a loved one.

dr. jay childrens grief program at yfs
heart etched into the trunk of a tree

Alice’s* story:

Since Yorktown Family Services began intake for the Grief and Bereavement program in December of 2021, we have received over 50 referrals for Individual/Family therapy, including a referral for Alice*, a 13-year-old whose mother was a victim of homicide. Through therapy, Alice was able to process the tragic death of her mother by navigating the changes in her family dynamics and social situations, managing and expressing difficult emotions, exploring her identity, and developing coping strategies. At the start of treatment, Alice reported suffering from frequent daily panic attacks. By the 7th session, the panic attacks had reduced to once every 2-3 weeks. Through the Grief and Bereavement Program, Alice is on track to make significant positive improvements to her mental health and well-being and lead a healthy life.

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the youth

Support from donors like you can help us continue to provide grieving children and youth, like Alice, with the mental health support they need when they need it most. For every $125 raised, one child or youth in need can access a counseling session with a Therapist.

Monthly donations of as little as $42.00 a month over the course of a year can provide a child or youth facing a sudden or traumatic death with Acute Response Therapy of up to 4 sessions.

Please donate to Yorktown Family Services Grief and Bereavement and Rapid Access to Mental Health Therapy and provide the gift of healing to a child or youth facing loss and grief.