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Research Report Round-up: How Ontario public health units are addressing child and youth mental health

July 25, 2013

Momentum is building to promote mental health in Ontario, including efforts to improve treatment options and services for children and youth with mental health concerns. The core business of public health covers illness prevention and health promotion. But the role of public health in mental health is not clear.

To better understand this role, researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Health Promotion Resource Centre, Public Health Ontario, and Toronto Public Health conducted a survey among public health units in Ontario as well as interviews with key informants in these units.

The results show that units are doing a lot of work to address mental health in children and youth. They are responsive to local needs, are working with a variety of partners, and are integrating mental health into existing programming.

Respondents identified various factors they feel had a substantial influence on their collective efforts, including:

  • Lack of a provincial mandate;
  • Limited resources at the health unit level;
  • Coordination challenges among community partners;
  • Lack of focus on mental health promotion and mental illness prevention;
  • Stigma and views of mental health/mental illness; and
  • Gaps in the mental health services being offered.

EENet has developed a Research Report Round-up of the report, “Connecting the Dots: How Ontario Public Health Units are Addressing Child and Youth Mental Health.” Read about the results of the survey and the researchers’ recommendations on the EENet website.

Research Report Round-ups are brief summaries of research reports, presented in a user-friendly format. To read EENet’s clear language report summaries, visit

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