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Discovering New Evidence

Discovering the best treatments for child and youth depression

Young woman looking at camera with friends in the background
Discovering the best treatments for child and youth depression
The Cundill Centre provides the evidence needed to develop best practices, including screening tools, early interventions and treatments for children and youth with depression. Selected clinical research projects must have a well-developed procedure for implementation and must meet the key criteria for Cundill projects.

Cundill Centre projects must:
  • Focus on the prevention, early intervention or treatment of child or youth depression
  • Work towards development of evidence-based best practices
  • Have an international focus
  • Share knowledge with the world
  • Engage youth and families 
  • Be innovative

Current Cundill Centre projects:

Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) Project
This project, led by Dr. Darren Courtney (CAMH) and Dr. Kathryn Bennett (McMaster University), will:
  • Gather and evaluate the quality and implementability of clinical practice guidelines for youth depression to determine the best, high-quality guidelines. 
  • Identify barriers and facilitators to implementing recommendations in practice.
  • Develop a plan to implement recommended guidelines in local agencies.
  • Share developing knowledge with clinicians, policy makers, youth, families and other stakeholders through. appropriate knowledge exchange vehicles and in ways that incorporate each stakeholder group’s needs.
  • Make recommended guidelines widely available to relevant stakeholders.

Child and Youth Psychotherapy Experiences (CAYPE) Project
This project, led by Dr. Joanna Henderson (CAMH) and Dr. Priya Watson (CAMH), will:
  • Survey program managers about available services for children and youth with depression to increase understanding of psychosocial services in Ontario. 
  • Conduct focus groups with youth, families and service providers to help understand their perspectives on psychosocial interventions. 
  • Develop a developmentally-appropriate tool to measure adverse events experienced by youth receiving psychosocial treatment for depression. 
  • Conduct a prospective study of the experiences of youth receiving psychosocial intervention  for depression.
  • Be guided by integrated knowledge translation principles throughout by engaging in participatory research and involving youth, family and other stakeholders.
Depression Early Warning Project
This project, led by Dr. John Strauss (CAMH) and Dr. Marco Battaglia​ (CAMH), will:
  • Help the 40-70 per cent of youth treated for major depressive disorder who will experience relapse. 
  • Test wearable devices that measure biological/behavioural readouts that can indicate early warning signs of relapse.
  • Create a tool to monitor early relapse indicators.
  • Modify treatment based on relapse risk, improving care for youth.

Suicide Prevention Project
This project, led by Dr. Daphne Korczak (Hospital for Sick Children) and Dr. Yaron Finkelstein (Hospital for Sick Children), will:
  • Be the first randomized controlled trial on suicide prevention in adolescents in Canada.
  • Better-target prevention efforts and resources by intervening in a paediatric population at high risk of future suicide (youth presenting to the emergency department with a suicide attempt).
  • Determine the effectiveness of a brief, intensive, multi-component  prevention intervention in decreasing suicide-related behaviours compared to treatment as usual in youth outpatients over six months post-treatment.
  • Examine the effect of the intervention on future service use, family conflict/cohesion, mental health symptom scores and functioning, patient satisfaction and health care costs and savings.
  • Involve youth, parents/caregivers and families.

Aboriginal Triage and Treatment Project
This project, led by Dr. Nancy Young (Laurentian University), will:
  • Use a prospective cohort design to study the health of youth (aged 8-18 years) living on-reserve in Wikwemikong, the largest First Nation in Ontario.
  • Evaluate whether the Aboriginal Children’s Health and Well-being Measure (ACHWM), a community-based screening and triage process developed with input from First Nations youth, will enable the identification of youth earlier in their illness trajectory and result in better mental health over one year compared to the standard referral process, for at-risk youth. 
  • Collect data on health services utilization, critical incidents, type of services, months of service.
  • Undertake a health economic analysis to estimate the cost of developing, implementing and maintaining the ACHWM screening and triage process.
  • Gather qualitative data from youth (e.g., stories from youth perspectives).
Defining Good Outcome in Child and Youth Depression 
This project, led by Dr. Peter Szatmari(CAMH), will:
  • Provide key information on what youth and parents consider to be a good outcome of treatment for mood disorder.
  • Conduct a systematic review of outcome measures used in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of child and adolescent mood disorder to determine the quality of those measures and to highlight the criteria used to define a “good outcome”.
  • Conduct a pilot study to define a “good outcome” using clinical data from the YouthCan IMPACT RCT, in which youth 14-18 years of age are randomized to receive service as usual from a hospital outpatient psychiatry department or service from an integrated collaborative care team in the community.
  • Ask youth and their parents to report on the level of change (small, moderate or large) they feel has occurred in symptoms/functioning and whether they feel a “good outcome” was experience at that point.
  • Calibrate youth and parent evaluations against actual change on standardized mood scales. 


Want to know more about our research projects? 

Susan Dickens, Manager


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