Oolagen's mission is to listen, engage, assist and empower youth and families in recognizing their strengths, expanding their capabilities and enhancing their wellbeing and mental health.

Our Impact Why We Exist

Since our founding in 1967, Oolagen's innovative approaches have helped over 60,000 Toronto youth overcome the devastating effects of emotional, social and psychological challenges. Our groundbreaking techniques have a proven track record of helping even the most troubled kids blossom into mentally and socially healthy, productive members of society. Centering people as "the experts in their own lives" is a cornerstone of Oolagen programs and services. 

Our Story What We Do

Through listening, we gain understanding, in assisting youth and families; we help them discover their own skills and knowledge for life. Through engaging, we encourage youth to adopt a new more hopeful view of themselves and their lives. Through empowerment, youth are able to grow to their full potential.

History of Organization

Oolagen, an accredited youth mental health centre, has been helping Toronto youth and their families for more than 42 years. Highly respected for its work, Oolagen also serves as a University of Toronto teaching facility. Our long-term partners include the Toronto District School Board, Sick Kids Hospital, the Children’s Aid Society and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, as well as other children’s mental health agencies and community groups.

Accolades and Accomplishments

Since its beginning, in 1967, Oolagen has helped over 60,000 youth overcome the devastating effects of emotional, social and psychological challenges. We help young people who live with abuse, eating disorders, addictions, family violence, depression and self-harming behaviours, just to name a few.  Each year Oolagen reaches more than 4,000 Toronto youth and their families through leading edge treatment and prevention programs. In 2014, Ruth Pluznick, our Director of Clinical Services, received the prestigious Elizabeth Manson Award for Clinical Excellence from The Hospital for Sick Children's Department of Psychiatry. The award recognizes the consistent providing of superior quality care for children and famlies affected by mental health challenges. .

Our Programs How We Do It

At Oolagen, we help kids overcome emotional barriers and build self-respect, self-esteem and confidence.  We work to help them stay in school, develop life-skills and learn new ways to manage anger and work cooperatively with others.  We help build trust between kids and their parents. Oolagen also develops and conducts preventative workshops in schools on topics ranging from abuse, drugs, gangs, bullying and date rape.

Our programs include one residential treatment facility, on-site counselling services in our office and in 3 high schools, an outpatient counselling program, a 5 day per week Walk-in clinic, Wraparound programs that help homeless young mothers stabilize their lives and keep youth at home and out of care; an intensive counselling service that provides in-home and community based support and interventions. Oolagen does whatever it takes to keep young people on track and turn their lives in a positive direction.

What's Up Walk-in

Oolagen is a partner in Toronto’s only city‐wide walk-in counselling service that is open 5 days a week. The clinic provides fast, free access to counselling services for youth 13 to 18 years old and their families. This is an opportunity for immediate problem solving and therapeutic conversations, as well as referral to other services if required.

For many, a single appointment is enough, although the clinic may be used more than once if needed. This program provides immediate help for depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, family violence, job loss,parent/child conflict, school issues and much more.

Parents and caregivers are welcome to attend the clinic on their own; many caregivers find it beneficial to consult with a therapist without their child present.

No appointment or health card needed. No cost.

Mondays:        9:00 a.m. –   1:00 p.m.   (Last appointment 11:30 a.m.) 

Tuesdays:       12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.   (Last appointment 6:30 p.m.)                         

Wednesdays:  3:00 p.m. –    6:00 p.m.   (Last Appointment 4:30 p.m.) 

Thursdays:      9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.     (Last Appointment 11:30 a.m.) 

Fridays:          9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.      (Last Appointment at 11:30 a.m.) 

Funding and Program Partners

In 2005, we opened our walk-in clinic to help youth and families while they were on our waitlist for individual or family counselling. Winners Merchants International L.P. has supported Oolagen's walk-in clinic from the beginning. We have also received periodic funding from the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund, CIBC and RBC.

We recently expanded our walk-in to provide daily service from Monday to Friday. This city-wide initiative - What`s Up walk-in - is a partnership with East Metro Youth Services and Yorktown Family Services.

Program Impact

Since we expanded our hours in 2009, wait times for service have decreased from one year to three months. Each year we help 400+ youth and their families.

Please note Oolagen's walk-in clinic serves youth 13-18 and their family members.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“The 2008 health profile of Toronto residents (12 years old and over) reveals that just over half (57%) perceive themselves to be in very good or excellent health, (compared to 61% in 2007) and 12.8% are in fair or poor health;

  • 77.5% report being in very good or excellent mental health;
  • 86.4% are satisfied or very satisfied with life, but 21.2% (over the age of 15) experience “quite a lot” of life stress (for 35-44 year olds, the percentage rises to 25.2%).

One quarter (25.5%) are sometimes or often limited from participation in activities by disability or illness.”

"Young adults (aged 20 - 34) have, on average, a weaker sense of belonging than older adults." (Toronto's Vital Signs 2011)

Participant Vignette

"I felt I was able to talk about my feelings and have a weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel less stressed and feel much better about myself. I gained hope."

"It makes me feel that I'm not alone in dealing with everything. I have something else to rely on, something else I can trust to help me."

I'm grateful the service is available. It helped me get a lot of my anxiety and worries out, telling someone who wants to listen really helped.

"I was actually able to trust the counsellor enough to talk to her. It helped me get problems off my chest. I was able to discuss things, issues, problems that I can't talk about with most people."

"It has made me more confident that I will be able to deal with my issues. It was a relief to finally talk to someone."

"It gave me more options on what I can do to help myself though this tough and difficult time."

"It helped me realize what my strengths are and what I want to do in the future (as a career)."

"It helped me put my problem into perspective and learn how to deal with it."

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“One-quarter of Toronto’s youth lack a sense of belonging to their local community, a feeling that increases significantly as they reach young adulthood”

Oolagen Youth Mental Health increases a young person’s sense of belonging by:

• Engaging youth in identifying issues that affect them and their communities and developing responses for positive change

• Building skills and providing opportunities for voluntarism, community involvement. leadership programs and peer support

• Connecting youth to groups, organizations and individuals within the community


What You Can Do

What's Up walk-in

Activities a donation will support

Grants to this program will enable us to continue to provide this valuable and life saving service.

Richard Kalesky House

Activities a donation will support

For youth with the most challenging issues, our residential program provides intensive support in a structured environment. Some of our youth come from families who struggle financially. Each year we help our residents enjoy a little holiday or birthday magic by providing them with a meaningful gift and a special meal.  .

Donation impact

A gift of $2,500 will mean one deserving young person can live at Richard Kalesky House for one year.

Wraparound Services

Activities a donation will support

Many of the young moms and famlies we work with struggle financially. Donations are used to purchase baby clothes and food, warm clothing, or baby-proofing equipment, Christmas gifts for young children, food vouchers.

Donation impact

This innovative, proven approach surrounds high-risk youth with support team of family members, social workers, public health nurses, faith groups, friends and community members. This "family-like" support system empowers goal setting, keeping on a positive track and overcoming barriers to succeed.



Caroline Sneath
Director of Development
416.395.0660 x230
Charitable Number: 119068625RR0001


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