More than 1.2 million children and youth in Canada are affected by mental illness. Due to a lack of access and resources they often do not get the help they so urgently need.
SickKids is responding to this need with three major initiatives serving children and youth in the community. With the integration of the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre into what is now the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (CCMH), SickKids is now the largest provider of child and youth mental health services in the Greater Toronto Area. CCMH’s aim is to ensure that children and youth get quick access to the level of mental health services they need, and to create a seamless transition between access points and level of care between the hospital and the community.
SickKids has also launched two major partnership initiatives in community mental health. In collaboration with local hospitals, mental health facilities and community agencies, SickKids has played a major role in the launch of YouthCan – a new model of health care delivery for at-risk youth between the ages of 14 and 18 suffering from mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and addiction challenges. YouthCan is a one-stop, community-based walk-in storefront combined with a strong school and agency referral network and web-based supports – providing earlier, easier access to the right care at a lower cost. The other partnership is with MLSE LaunchPad, a newly established walk-in clinic where SickKids will work collaboratively to develop programs specific to local community needs. This could include special programs such as a drop-in centre or continuing programs to support youth with anxiety, addressing immediate mental health needs and helping children to be academically successful in school.
With our help, SickKids can continue to close the gaps in the mental health system.
If mental illness is recognized and appropriately treated in childhood and adolescence, it can profoundly change the trajectory of a child’s life.