Helping you help others.
If you are looking to support someone aged 0-18 and their family in accessing community-based mental and developmental health services or programs in Toronto, we can help.
We’re here to share information about available resources and help facilitate referrals and intake.Explore the FAQ for more details
Tell your client or patient to call Help Ahead or call us with them!
Whether you call with your client or they call us on their own, our team is experienced, empathetic and ready to listen and guide children, youth and families with infants through available, local resources. We can set people up with an immediate counselling session and/or connect them to a local community-based agency and initialize the intake process.
Physicians looking to refer a young patient (0-18 yrs) to mental health health services in Toronto can submit a request via CognisantMD’s Ocean platform. We will receive your request and can call your patient or their family directly to discuss suitable options based on their needs and begin the intake process with them. If you have questions about available options for service, you can also call us.
(Note the Ocean’s may page still references our former name, Mental Health T.O.)
Community based referrals without an Ocean account
Community agencies, schools, child welfare and youth up to 18 years of age, or their parent or guardian, can submit a referral for themselves or on behalf of someone else here, for intensive services (day treatment, live-in treatment or intensive in home treatment). We will receive your request and can call your client or their family directly to discuss suitable options based on their needs and begin the intake process with them. If you have questions about available options for service, you can also call us.
Physicians looking to refer a young patient (0-18 yrs) to mental health or developmental health services in Toronto can download the form below and fax it to us at (647) 689-7582 or email email@example.com. We will receive your request and can call your patient or their family directly to discuss suitable options based on their needs and begin the intake process with them. If you have questions about available options for service, you can also call us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you provide services in different languages?
Help Ahead staff speak English and there is an option when you call to press 2 in the greeting message to speak with someone in French from Centre Francophone. At this time, we do not have the ability to provide services in languages. Please ask a family member, friend or other person you trust who can speak English to help you with the process.
Is your service free?
Yes! Calling Help Ahead and speaking with a member of our team is always completely free. We are funded by the Government of Ontario.
For ongoing services, we will explore the options through our partnered community mental health agencies available to you at no cost. Should you be interested in fee-for-service programs or treatments, we can share relevant options for those as well.
What kind of information do you provide?
We provide information about:
- Mental health services in your neighbourhood or in other parts of the city
- Crisis lines
- Self-help groups
- Distress centres
- Family services
- Information and referral to other services
Who can call Help Ahead?
Anyone under the age of 18 looking for mental health services or anyone who wants to support someone under the age of 18 can call 1-866-585-6486. This includes young people, a custodial parent or guardian who wants to be connected to a community-based mental health service serving infants, children, youth and families.
Healthcare and education professionals and service providers can also call us to learn about services in the community. However, we cannot proceed with a referral without speaking to or getting consent from a custodial parent, guardian or youth 12 years and over.
What are the parameters around consent to treatment?
We must have consent from both legal guardians for children under 12 years of age.
We must get consent from anyone participating in treatment that is over 12 years of age.
If a child or youth over the age of 12 does not want to access counselling or treatment, we can help connect families to local parent/caregiver groups and programs.
We cannot accept 3rd party referrals.
Is this service only available to people living in Toronto?
Help Ahead can refer children, youth and families to our partner agencies in Toronto for ongoing support, but we can provide resources in the GTA for people to contact on their own if they are calling from outside Toronto.
After I call you, how long do I need to wait before I can get help?
The mental health worker will send your referral information to the appropriate agency the same day you call us. You can expect to hear from the referring agency within five (5) business days to arrange a time to complete a more thorough assessment.