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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Pathways and Partnerships for children and youth

“This is the culmination of many years of work to improve access and improve coordination of child and youth mental health services,” said Dr. Peter Szatmari, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at CAMH, at the first inaugural conference of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health. The conference, held May 12 at CAMH, also marked the official opening of the McCain Centre at CAMH under the leadership of Dr. Peter Szatmari, Dr. Joanna Henderson, Director of the McCain Centre and Gloria Chaim, Associate Director.

McCain Centre opening
From Left to Right: Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services, The Honourable Margaret McCain, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, and Dr. Catherine Zahn celebrate the official opening of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health at CAMH.

Developing Pathways and Partnerships in Toronto for Children and Youth was the theme of the day that included celebratory remarks from supporters such as Stephen Lye of the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development at University of Toronto, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, wife of Governor General David Johnston, The Honourable Margaret McCain, and  Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services.

People from across all sectors involved in mental health care for children and youth attended the collaborative conference that also featured expert presentations and a discussion panel.

Dr. Catherine Zahn welcomed the distinguished guests and highlighted the importance of genuine collaboration and partnership in this area. "We deeply understand that we can’t do it alone,” she said. “[At CAMH] we’ve worked hard to ensure that we are structured to share; that we are humble leaders, respectful partners and generous friends.”

“Societies that invest in children are more successful,” said Stephen Lye who congratulated CAMH on successfully bringing together community and academia to collaborate this important issue. “I’m excited to be part of the future of this centre,” he said.   

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston asked the audience to, “travel back 52 years,” to when she was first starting out as an occupational therapist and entered the hospital then known as 999 Queen Street West.

“It was the Age of Aquarius, but not for the patients,” she said. “But think where we are now in 2015,” pointing to the opening of the new McCain Centre and what she called “a substantive contribution to child and youth mental health.”

McCain Centre opening
Dr. Catherine Zahn welcomes guests and conference participants to the first inaugural conference of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health.

Margaret McCain, whose visionary investment has made the McCain Centre a reality, spoke about her early career in child welfare. “This is a very special day for me,” she said. “Not enough attention or resources have been given to the mental health of our children.” She shared her resolve that CAMH be the epicenter of research and treatment in this field. “My dream is [to build] a network of bridges so that treatment and knowledge will be readily applied.”

Echoing the theme of partnership and collaboration, Tracy MacCharles said “mental health is a shared responsibility. We must work together to meet the needs of young people who face mental health issues.”

As a mother whose child has struggled with mental illness, MacCharles emphasized the need for a system that is accessible and that families can navigate. “Let’s continue to work together to build a stronger service system for children, youth and their families.”

- Click here to view a PDF with all the Conference presentations.

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