Up to 15 per cent of young people have a serious mental illness, yet only 16 per cent of them get the care they need. Barriers include stigma; lack of mental health literacy; long wait lists; strict exclusion criteria based on age, difficulty or combination of illnesses; lack of developmentally appropriate service options; and a general reluctance to access mental health services, especially those designed for adults.
The Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health is working to lift these barriers.
Established in 2012 through a $10-million investment by the Hon. Margaret McCain, the McCain Centre is driving clinical research, community partnerships and youth engagement initiatives designed to influence mental health policy and practice.
The centre is committed to addressing challenges in delivering care, too. Young people and their families need developmentally sensitive, evidence-based services in environments that are right for them. Furthermore, despite a growing body of new studies on effective mental health interventions and clinical practice guidelines, implementation varies greatly from setting to setting. The benefits of interventions are often partial and short-lived.
The needs of children and youth are not being served adequately by the current mental health system. Increased knowledge, improved access and better quality of services will be key to improving service and mental health policy in Canada.
The McCain Centre is creating hope for healthier lives for children, youth and families.