LONDON, ONT. -- Help is now just a cab ride away for young people in Middlesex County.

Youth aged 16 to 25 hailing from Lucan, Strathroy, Exeter, Parkhill and other Middlesex County towns are the focus of a pilot project run by a partnership of The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Minds of London-Middlesex.

“The youth can access the outreach crisis line and then the crisis worker will connect with them, chat with them, see what their needs are,” says Yvonne Lammers with the CMHA. Free taxi ride info

After calling the crisis line, if the youth needs to come to the crisis centre, a taxi from Star Taxi will be dispatched.

“The taxi drivers that would be providing these individuals with transportation to CMHA’s crisis centre are trained in crisis deescalation.”

Romaisa Pervez of Minds of London-Middlesex says this partnership aims to remove barriers for transitional youth who are in mental health crisis.

“Transportation is very difficult when you’re living in a rural area and you are in mental health crisis, you will have very limited options, so this initiative aims to overcome that barrier.”

The driver will not only pick them up and take them to the CMHA Crisis Centre in London but wait for them to take them back home afterward.

“They will have a face-to-face conversation with our workers here, they’ll provide a supportive, caring place for them to talk about what their concerns are. And also connect them to other resources and help as needed,” says Lammers.

If the pilot project is successful and funding to sustain the project can be attained, they hope to broaden the scale of the project in the future.