CAMH to lead team developing youth mental health platform

The Canadian Press
CAMH to lead team developing youth mental health platform

TORONTO — A team of experts led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is creating an online platform it says will fill longtime gaps in youth mental health care.

The Canadian Youth Mental Health Insight Platform will help young people find service providers in their area, and allow mental health practitioners to record and collect important data on a nationwide scale, says CAMH.

Dr. Sean Hill, who is heading up the project, says the platform will give providers tools to track and exchange information about what interventions work.

This large-scale collection of data will also allow for AI-powered analysis that could help inform public policy, said Hill.

“We foresee serving also policymakers with a nationwide atlas of youth mental health, understanding where is the greatest need for services … and how do we ensure that resources can be allocated to really fill the gaps.”

The platform will also help mental health providers tailor their services to better meet the needs of different groups, said Dr. Jo Henderson, a clinician and researcher.

“Being able to have a an approach that can highlight the needs of communities where there are particularly high levels of vulnerability will be important to achieving better equity in our systems,” said Henderson.

Henderson said one of the project’s key advantages is that it’s been designed with input from young people about how to make sure the web portal serves their needs, as well as those of clinicians and researchers.

“The most important ideas that are contained within this work that we’re now about to embark on originated with young people,” Henderson said.

“We need at every turn to be able to amplify the voices of young people in the decisions that affect them.”

The project is backed by a $5-million grant from the Canadian Brain Research Fund, and is expected to be built over the next three years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2022.

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