A second special issue devoted to child and youth mental health in Canada has recently been published in Healthcare Quarterly. The issue contains articles that look at future directions for child and youth mental health services, challenges in the system and the complexities inherent within specific settings.
Future directions for services are based on the current reality of limited and fragmented resources and the lack of evidence-informed practices. Academics and child and youth specialists, Simon Davidson and Stan Kutcher, both weigh in on the possibilities for “transformational change.”
Mental health system challenges are explored by authors associated with the Commission to Promote Child Welfare, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Challenge areas include prevention, intervention, supportive transitions to the community, and between youth and adult systems. In addition to these areas, service-delivery integration and stigma eradication are addressed.
Specific settings such as the communities of diverse indigenous Canadians, street-involved youth and rural areas and the justice system are also examined. An important first step in supporting young people in these contexts is the importance of replacing abstract and erroneous attitudes towards groups with an understanding of the particular needs and resilient assets of each distinct group.
The issue provides some strong models such as Roots of Empathy and the Pine River Institute to inspire future mental health strategies for children and youth.
See “Child Health in Canada,” Healthcare Quarterly, April 2011, Volume 14 Special Issue 2 available at www.longwoods.com.