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First Episode Mood & Anxiety Program (FEMAP)

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Every Second Counts, Don’t Make Them Wait.


"Imagine a young person is finally willing to tell someone ‘I need help and I need it now,’ and then hear ‘We’re going to have to put you on a waitlist for months.’ It’s not the right answer. People can get more desperate and use substances to treat their worsening symptoms. They can end up in the hospital or worse - attempt suicide. We need to get them into treatment sooner. Without expanding our services, we can't do that.” Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, FEMAP Founder & Dr. Joseph Rea Chair in Mood Disorders

The majority of mental illness starts before age 25; yet this age group experiences the largest gap in mental health services. 

The First Episode Mood & Anxiety Program, known as FEMAP, is the first program of its kind in Canada with a unique model aimed at reversing the “first episodes” of mental illness for youth aged 16. If left untreated, these illnesses can cause irreparable damage to people’s lives and may lead to chronic depression, social isolation, homelessness, and other tragic outcomes. FEMAP offers a comprehensive range of services such as psychology, psychiatry, social work, addictions counselling, family therapy, and group therapy.

Currently, it can take between 7 to 10 months from the first assessment to start treatment. For a patient who is courageous enough to reach out for help now, the long wait can have a devastating impact. To help youth suffering with mental illness in our community, the issue of a growing waitlist needs to be addressed now. In order to avoid heartbreaking outcomes, FEMAP needs support to expand its services and double its capacity. The expansion will help reduce wait times and provide new/more services for current and future patients that are reaching out for help when they are most vulnerable.


Thanks to generous donors we are over two-thirds of the way toward a $4M goal to expand FEMAP services. These funds have already helped with the expansion of a second physical location at 54 Riverview Avenue, as well as additional services. However, the program urgently needs to double its team of healthcare professionals including counsellors, social workers, researchers, and psychologists to provide the expanded mental health services below.


• Enhanced Addictions Services 

• Training the future Generation of healthcare specialists 

• Life Skills for Youth such as financial literacy, budgeting, employment and entrepreneur skills

• Trauma Care

• Youth-friendly Mobile App: “on the go” self-assessments that will share real-time information with clinicians 

• Dedicated Research Support 


This life-saving program is splitting at the seams in the current space on Richmond Street. The expansion will reduce wait times and will allow more youth to receive the treatment that they need and deserve, as quickly as possible. So please help us close the gap in mental health care and join us on our pressing mission to sustain the future of FEMAP.


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One thing is certain, we can't make them wait.  

Every second counts and waiting can have devastating outcomes. The youth in our community with mental health disorders need more services. We need your support


Your financial support will guide the future of the program while having a lasting impact on someone’s life now and forever.  


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