At Skylark Children, Youth and Families, we want you to feel welcomed when you walk through our doors. Whether you’re coming to one of our Walk-in Clinics, the Art Gallery, or The Studio – or you have an appointment with a therapist or Youth Outreach Worker – this is a place for you to be heard and to feel safe.
Youth are encouraged to collaborate fully in developing their treatment plan with their counsellor/therapist. Moreover, our youth are actively involved at Skylark on an ongoing basis from The Studio operation to the running of the Youth Engagement Committee, to advising on how we communicate. Young persons have a voice and are at the centre of everything we do.
We celebrate inclusivity and diversity.
Mental health and getting help
If you’re feeling depressed or anxious; worried or angry; being bullied; feeling like you might hurt yourself; having trouble at home or school – you’ve come to the right place. We can work with you to help address these and other mental health issues and challenges.
We encourage you to visit one of our Walk-in Clinics – free, no hassle, no appointment necessary. In many cases, Skylark’s expertly trained clinicians can make a tangible difference in just one session, but we can also refer you to other services if needed and Walk-in can be used more than once if necessary. The ‘what’s up’ walk-in services are available 5 days per week and our YouthCan walk-in is open 6 days per week.
Help is available…you just need to walk through the door.
Gender and sexuality
At Skylark, we celebrate the diverse experiences of youth and strive to create a community where all youth can get engaged in building allyship. An ally is a term used to describe someone who is supportive of LGBT+ people. It encompasses non-LGBT+ allies as well as those within the LGBT+ community who support each other. (e.g. a lesbian who is an ally to the bisexual community.)
We know that adolescence can be a very challenging and confusing time particularly around issues of identity and sexuality.
Gender and sexuality can be connected but these are not the same
Gender is more about how you express and feel about yourself. Many people link gender with biological sex, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. Sexuality is about who you’re attracted to emotionally, physically, and in all the different ways people are attracted to each other.
Some youth know for sure that they’re attracted to people of the same gender or another gender from a young age. Others might take more time to figure things out. For some people, sexuality is fluid and changes over time.
In the same way, some youth are very sure about their own gender identity at a really young age, and others take longer. While for others, gender is fluid and changes over time.
The important thing to remember is that it’s totally okay to be confused or unsure. You don’t need to rush to label yourself one way or another. It’s okay to explore your gender and sexuality and let the answers come to you in your own time.
If you think you might be trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, gender queer, asexual, or any other diversity label, or if you’re questioning your gender or sexuality, there are a lot of places to go for friendship and support. Here, at Skylark we have The Studio for all youth – where we celebrate young people who identify anywhere on the gender or sexual diversity spectrums – and their friends and supporters.
Also, please feel free to contact Skylark’s Youth Outreach Worker, Debby Nunes if you have any questions, or if you know of an LGBTQ+ young person who might benefit from additional support. Debby Nunes can be reached by phone 416-709-0659 or email Debby Nunes.
Coming out about your sexual orientation or gender identity is a very personal decision
Coming out can be really scary, because you can’t always predict how people will react. It can also feel great to let go of a secret you’ve been keeping for a long time. Many people decide to come out to friends, family, school or work in different ways and at different times in their lives.
It’s also okay to not come out if you don’t want to – or if you don’t feel safe. If you decide to come out, you’ll find many people who support you and will be your allies. Other people may have a hard time adjusting to the news.
There are some important things to consider before coming out:
For information and support
Check out Useful Links in our Resource Section
Drugs and substance use issues
Many young people struggling with mental health challenges are self-medicating with street or prescription drugs, alcohol and other substances. Peer pressure also contributes to teens misusing drugs and engaging in unsafe behaviour.
SESSIONS is a drug education intervention that provides youth ages 13 to 24 with skills and tools to help them navigate a complex, drug-using world.
SESSIONS workshops at Skylark create a safe space for young people to have honest, thoughtful discussions about drugs and drug use. These are interactive workshops where our facilitators use music, art, literature, and games to engage youth as they develop skills to make informed choices about their health and wellness.
Visit the Walk-in Clinic if you want to speak to a counsellor about any of these or other issues.