Our Story

How lived experience changed the future of young adult mental health resources in Toronto.

Stella’s Story

Stella was a typical 17 year old teen—enjoying music, sports, friends, and school. But Stella’s Mother, Donna Green, began noticing some distressing changes. Her daughter was struggling with homework late into the night. Stella felt overwhelmed by the thought of getting out of bed in the morning, taking a shower, eating, and planning her day. “Then,” says Donna, “we got the call from the school. The wheels had completely fallen off. She couldn’t go another step. She was paralyzed with depression and anxiety.”

“I knew nothing then of the clinical complexity of mood disorders. But I did know that our child was severely depressed and desperately needed help.”

After years of private treatment in the USA, Donna knew her daughter wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find adequate help in Canada. Donna made it her life’s mission to improve the situation for young people. She won the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal in 2018 as a result of founding Stella’s Place.


Donna Green forms the dream for Stella’s Place


First Executive Director, Jenny Carver, joins the team


International best practice research study completed on young adult mental health


Stella’s Place is registered as a national charity and first Board of Directors is formed


First staff members are hired
First co-designed Strategic Plan is released


Peer Support Training Program is developed and first cohort of graduates
BeanBagChat  app goes into development
Programs begin co-design with young adults


Doors open to public at 18 Camden Street, Toronto
Peer Support & Clinical Counselling, DBT, Psychiatry, Fitness, Studio and Cafe programs launch


Stella’s Place doubles capacity, staff increases to 32 FTE
First year of full program model is delivered & evaluated


Community Healing Project begins in partnership with the City of Toronto
BeanBagChat program launches at Stella’s Place


Building for Mental Health Capital Campaign launches with Mayor John Tory
RBC Pathway to Peers project launches in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital
Results released from 2-year NexJ Connected Wellness research study


4,000 lives impacted to date
Renovations start at 54 Wolseley Street
New Executive Director, Wangari Muriuki, joins the team


Nzinga Walker transitions to Executive Director role
Stella’s Place Get Reel Mental Health Film Fest launches


Construction is complete at 54 Wolseley Street

How We Got Here & Where We’re Going

Sadly, most young adults never get the help they need for their mental health challenges. Donna Green knew her daughter Stella wasn’t alone in struggling with depression and anxiety. In Toronto, there are close to 500,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 29.

20% of these folks, approximately 100,000, have mental health needs. Only 1 in 6 young adults have access to mental health services and it’s particularly challenging for young people without financial resources.

The consequences are costly—young adults disengage from their education, employment, their families and their communities. Precious lives are lost.

Looking for answers, Donna engaged an independent researcher and assembled a team of mental health experts and professionals.

The group included representatives from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Hincks Dellcrest Treatment Centre.

They undertook a comprehensive investigation into effective interventions and programs available for young adults in Toronto, across Canada and internationally.

The team engaged with young adults and families to get their input, and the program approach that is now a reality was collaboratively developed.

Stella’s Place Toronto is the prototype for young adult-driven, age-specific, community-based mental health services in Canada. During our initial first three years of operation, every aspect of the program was developed with young adults, outcomes were documented, and plans for expansion to other Canadian communities will be explored.

A photo of Donna and Stella laughing together and sharing a tender moment.

“It’s not easy having a child (now a young adult) who needs professional attention and none is available. I’ve lived that anguish. That’s why my family and I founded Stella’s Place.”

-Donna Green,
Founder & Board Chair