In honour of the day, the Children’s Health Policy Centre has timed the release of the 50th issue of its Quarterly publication about children’s mental health research. This celebratory edition is titled Celebrating children’s mental health: 50 lessons learned.
The purpose of the issue is to present effective interventions and all the “good news” we know about how to safeguard children’s mental health.
National Child and Youth Mental Health Day was started in 2007 by the Vancouver-based Institute of Families for Child & Youth Mental Health. It is intended to create awareness and acknowledgement of the thousands of children, youth, and families needing mental health support and care across Canada.
The first Canadian study in 30 years to measure the prevalence of children’s mental disorders was just released
A major new child health study has just been released — the first Canadian study in 30 years to measure the prevalence of childhood mental disorders and associated service use, as well as changes in disorders over time and the role of social determinants. The Ontario Child Health Study was led by Michael Boyle and Kathy Georgiades at McMaster University and included more than 10,000 Ontario children. Children’s Health Policy Centre researchers also participated. Findings apply across Canada, including in BC. Here are the summaries of some of the papers just released in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. See https://journals.sagepub.com/toc/cpab/current. All articles are open access.
2014 Ontario Child Health Study Findings: Policy Implications for Canada
- 2014 OCHS is a 30-year report card on children’s mental health, showing that in Canada we need to do better.
- The main findings are: 1) prevalence of childhood mental disorders remains high; 2) service reach remains low; 3) needs have increased over the past 30 years; and 4) exposure to avoidable adversities (such as income disparities and violence) influences children’s mental health.
- Governance of children’s mental health services in Canada resides within provinces/territories and often spans healthcare, schools, early childhood education and children’s mental health and related services — making central expert leadership and planning crucial for improving children’s mental health in the next 30 years.
- Next steps include: 1) ensuring coherent policy leadership in each province/territory; 2) making and sustaining comprehensive children’s mental health plans that address both prevention and treatment; 3) ensuring the use of effective interventions; 4) reaching all children with mental disorders with innovative service approaches; 5) addressing avoidable childhood adversities; and 6) ensuring adequate and dedicated children’s mental health budgets. See: 2014 Ontario Child Health Study Findings: Policy Implications for Canada
Corresponding author: Charlotte Waddell, MD, FRCPC, University Professor, Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
Six-Month Prevalence of Mental Disorders and Service Contacts among Children and Youth in Ontario: Evidence from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study
- 18–22% of children aged 4–11 years had at least one mental disorder. Behaviour disorders were the most common in younger children and anxiety disorders most common in older children; for those with disorders, only 26–34% had had contact with a mental health provider; however, 60% had had contact with providers in other settings, most often schools.
Corresponding author: Kathy Georgiades, PhD, Associate Professor, Offord Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Changes in the Prevalence of Child and Youth Mental Disorders and Perceived Need for Professional Help between 1983 and 2014: Evidence from the Ontario Child Health Study
- The perceived need for professional help increased from 7% to 19% for 4–16-year-olds over the past 30 years — with increases in attention-deficit/hyperactivity for younger boys and in depression and anxiety for older boys and girls, but decreases in conduct disorder for older boys and girls.
Corresponding author: Jinette Comeau, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Western University, London, ON
Poverty, Neighbourhood Antisocial Behaviour and Child Mental Health Problems: Findings from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study
- When children experience high levels of neighbourhood antisocial behaviour, those living below the poverty line are at much higher risk for behavioural problems; these children are also at higher risk for emotional and behavioural problems when they live in areas with greater socioeconomic inequities.
Corresponding author: Michael Boyle, PhD, Professor Emeritus, McMaster University
You are invited to attend the Innovations in Research event hosted by SFU Public Square on April 10.
Innovations in Research is an evening event showcasing SFU researchers and innovators who are designing solutions to confront the disinformation age.
There will be a presentation showing how the Children’s Health Policy Centre prepares its Quarterly publication using systematic review and synthesis methods. This publication, which is produced in partnership with policy-makers from the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, confronts disinformation to improve children’s mental health.
Innovations in Research will take place on Wednesday, April 10 from 7 to 9 pm at SFU Segal Graduate School of Business, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C.
Anyone wanting more information, is invited to visit the event website.
A recent video conference, focusing on an academic publication by the Children’s Health Policy Centre, ended up highlighting a unique partnership in B.C.
“I think it’s remarkable that you have such an integrated group of people who implement policy, who advocate for policy and who research policy,” said moderator Michael Ostacher, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford University and digital content editor for the journal Evidence-Based Mental Health.
The one-hour discussion brought together the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, represented by Rob Lampard, the BC division of the Canadian Mental Health Association, represented by Bev Gutray and the CHPC research team, led by Charlotte Waddell. She was joined by Christine Schwartz and Jen Barican from the CHPC.
Although the impetus for the event was publication of a systematic review of prevention and treatment of childhood behaviour disorders, the wide-ranging discussion touched on much broader issues and concerns.
Highlighted was the unique relationship between the CHPC research group and the BC government. “There’s been a relationship between [the CHPC and] the policy branch that goes way back to the early 2000s,” said BC Child and Youth Mental Health Policy Executive Director Rob Lampard. “The team has had a big influence on the public policy landscape. Their excellent work is part of a large fabric that’s been woven over many years.”
His positive views were echoed by BC division Canadian Mental Health Association CEO Bev Gutray. “It’s a great privilege to be part of this team,” she said, noting that she was particularly happy with her own group’s ability to launch an intervention called Confident Parents/Thriving Kids. An adaptation of evidence-based parent training developed in Oregon, the built-in-BC program is able to provide support to parents via the phone in evenings and on weekends. “We couldn’t have done this without the CHPC team,” Gutray said. “And the Ministry has been alongside us every step of the way,” she adds.
While emphasizing the value of systematic review work, CHPC director Charlotte Waddell also stressed the importance of being pragmatic. “It’s really important to avoid what some people have called systemic review nihilism,” she said. “We need to give policy makers something practical that will allow them to respond to kids’ needs.”
Anyone wishing to view the video conference can see it here.