The McCain Centre is committed to improving the lives of children, youth and families affected by mental illness and has launched several initiatives aimed at enhancing clinical care by addressing care gaps. These activities include:
Addressing barriers to access.
Some of the barriers youth experience in accessing mental health and addiction services include long wait times, inconvenient hours, poor discharge planning and lack of coordination between service providers. The McCain Centre is coordinating the implementation of a novel, community-based approach to delivering mental health care to youth in Toronto through the YouthCan IMPACT project. Services of community agencies, adolescent psychiatry hospitals and primary care partners have been co-located in three youth-friendly walk-in clinics. A range of services are offered, including brief solution-focused therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy skills groups, care navigation, peer support, family/caregiver interventions and onsite access to psychiatric services. By co-locating services, some of the barriers youth experience can be addressed.
For details and the full list of YouthCan IMPACT partners, visit YouthCan IMPACT.
Engaging youth in the development of services and research projects.
Young people are often not involved in the creation of research projects and services aimed at helping them. The McCain Centre team has partnered on projects within CAMH and with organizations across Canada to give youth a powerful voice in the development of services or research projects being created for them. Recent projects include teaming with CAMH Education on the Thought Spot app — a crowd-sourced collection of mental health and wellness resources throughout the GTA — and conducting youth focus groups with the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network to understand the needs of transition-age youth.
The McCain Centre’s Youth Engagement Initiative team has also been instrumental in this area, having renewed the About Series (CAMH publication about substances for professionals and the public) and participating in the committee to develop the Patient Portal.
Optimizing care to meet the unique needs of younger and older youth,
with particular attention to transitions from youth to adult service systems.
The delivery of mental health and addiction services presents a challenge to both children and youth at risk and their care providers. A profound disconnect exists between their need for developmentally sensitive, evidence-based services in an appropriate environment and the existing child and adult mental health systems. The National Youth Screening Project was aimed at building capacity for developmentally appropriate treatment services for youth with substance use and mental health concerns at the service provider, service/agency and community levels. Another McCain Centre project—the Longitudinal Youth in Transition Study — is aimed at better understanding the youth experience of transitioning to adult services.