By the McCain Centre Youth Engagement Team
TORONTO, May 5, 2017 - Flexibility, mentorship and authentic decision-making: these
are the pillars of a youth-adult partnership, as well as the foundation of the
youth engagement team at CAMH’s Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for
Child, Youth & Family Mental Health (McCain Centre). For Mental
Health Week this year, we wanted to share how we #GETLOUD in support of youth mental health, and why the youth voice
is so important to mental health research and service delivery.
Our McCain Centre youth engagement team brings the youth
perspective to many research projects.
For example, we are members of the core team, providing leadership to YouthCan
IMPACT—a study that seeks to understand the benefits of integrated
collaborative care teams (ICCTs) in delivering services to youth, along with
health leaders, researchers, nurse practitioners and family members. We bring
the youth voice to all aspects of the study. Additionally, we facilitate the
study’s youth advisory group, which provides key perspectives of youth who have
experience using mental health services. This group voices concerns and makes
important recommendations for changes about elements in the ICCT model that may
act as obstacles when serving young clients.
The youth engagement team at CAMH’s McCain Centre.
Additionally, we lead our own projects, like Wellness Quest. The goal of this
project is to help youth understand the services that are available in their
communities, and provide them with information they need to advocate for the
services that would fit them best. Our youth research team plans to pilot the
resources we created through focus groups and online surveys, analyze the data
collected, and write a manuscript for publication to be shared with organizations
To learn more about our work, please read recent blogs we’ve
written about youth engagement:
A key part of the team’s work is to help in the presentation
and knowledge translation of new research and bring awareness to important
issues in the system affecting youth that require attention. An important part
of knowledge translation work is making research information accessible to
youth. For instance, to engage youth in the work that is ongoing at CAMH, we recently
invited and connected with youth who attended the Cundill Centre conference.
Our team is made up of four youth engagement facilitators—Emma McCann, Jackie Relihan, Joshua
Miller, and a new member coming on board shortly—and adult allies,
including Sam Docherty, youth
engagement initiative coordinator, the McCain Centre’s Director, Dr. Joanna Henderson, and Gloria Chaim, Head of Community
Engagement and Partnerships. We are a small but mighty team, and we don’t work
alone—we are connected with a whole network of passionate youth mental health
advocates from across the country: the National
Youth Advisory Committee (NYAC).
Stay tuned as we are working with NYAC to re-brand and
re-structure so that we are more streamlined and are better able to engage
youth in the topics they are interested in. Watch for an exciting announcement
in June with our new name and look. We will also be doing a call for new youth members
to join our team. If you have any questions please connect with our team
through the coordinator, Sam Docherty, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more about youth-adult partnerships and the
model of youth engagement at the McCain
Centre, check out a recently published article, “Implementation of a youth-adult
partnership in mental health systems research.”