"Our Kids Deserve More" in the realm of mental health - NeuroDevNet investigator Dr. Peter Szatmari

May 15, 2013

Dr. Peter Szatmari, new chief of the Toronto-based Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative marked Ontario's Mental Health Week May 5-11 with a statement on how the collaborative is improving mental health for young people.

A new initiative linking Ontario's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, SickKids and the University of Toronto, the collaborative has been formed to serve as "a model of an efficient, evidence based service, to provide mental health expertise that cannot be accessed elsewhere in the city, and to be a knowledge translation broker bringing a critical, but constructive, view of the empirical evidence so that the newspapers are no longer filled with the stories of the failure of our system."

"We often hear that 1 in 5 children and youth suffer from a mental health challenge, " Dr Szatmari writes, in an article included in the May edition of CAMH Connections, an ebulletin. "This is true but it is based on data which are more than 30 years old.

"We have no idea whether these rates have gone up or down with the increasing fragmentation of families, the recession, and the challenges that families face to find good housing and a safe environment," Dr. Szatmari continues. "Only a small minority of children and youth with mental disorders are able to access services for mental health (20%) but again this is based on old data. It is possible that this figure is even lower today, as the mental health system for children and youth becomes even more overloaded, fractured, and characterized by intolerable wait lists."

To read Dr. Szatmari's full posting, entitled "Children's Mental Health Week 2013: Our Kids Deserve More," click here.