It’s a first for Ottawa and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and possibly in Canada and elsewhere as well.
The hospital today announced the first step of its plan to build a novel paediatric-focused Centre for Mental Health Services and Policy Research on-site.
Bill Gardner (PhD), is the Director of the newly created Centre for Pediatric Mental Health Services and Policy Research. He is also Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Ottawa, and Senior Research Chair, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.Listen
Professor Gardner says because of the very specific focus of the new centre on mental health needs for children and youth, it could be a very unique operation, adding he personally knows of no other such research facility.
In a CHEO press release, Dr. Kathleen Pajer, Chief, Department of Psychiatry said, “According to a study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 75% of children in Canada with a mental health problem don’t get care – but why not? We must figure this out and deliver care to these kids. We have a plan and excellent resources to back it up. Our next step is to engage frontline clinicians and community members too.”
To do this, the new Centre will bring together experts in a variety of fields including psychologists, psychiatrists, anthropologists, physicians, social workers, nurses, economists. child and youth care workers and others. The idea is to get teams together to discuss the variety of issues required for discovering improved and more equitable delivery of mental health needs for children and youth.
The Centre has two new chaired positions, one for professor Gardner and another for a distinguished psychiatrist John McLennan, coming from the University of Calgary who, as a clinician-scientist in the role of Research Chair, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry who will focus on the issue of delivering mental health services in schools and getting services to hard to reach populations such as children and youth with disruptive behaviour disorders or those who have mental health problems and intellectual disabilities.
Professor Gardner says most specialists are located in major urban centres in the province, but there is great need in more remote areas where mental health services are rare or non-existent. The centre will also work towards development of new policies and techniques to deliver services to these more remote areas.
The new Centre will get support from the University of Ottawa and the Faculties of Medicine and Social Sciences, together with the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Psychiatry Associates at CHEO.