New Research Funding

Congratulations to Graham Reid, PhD, and his team who have been awarded a CIHR Project Grant titled, Equity in Mental Health Care for Children and Youth.  

Co-Principal Investigators: Reid GJ, Gardner W
Co-Applicants: Boyle M, Brown JB, Cairney J, Duncan L, Georgiades K, Gilliland J, Kurdyak P, Pajer K, Rayner J, Vingilis E
Collaborators: Hameed S, Hutton B, Nicholls S, Tithecott G
Funding: Canadian Institutes of Canadian Health Research


Lay Abstract

Mental health problems and suicide are among the most important causes of morbidity and mortality for children and youth. Yet access to mental health care for children is an ongoing challenge. The principle of equity in access to healthcare is reflected in the Canada Health Act. However, equity in access to MH care is ill-defined and has rarely been examined in relation to child/youth mental health services (CYMHS). The current study will conduct a systematic review of how equity has been evaluated with respect to MH care for children and youth.

Equity can be defined as equal access to services. Within Ontario and across Canada, specialized MH and psychiatric services for children and youth are delivered mainly through publicly-funded agencies and psychiatrists. Private providers (psychologists and social workers) also play a role; we have little information on the role that private providers play in the systems that care for this population. The present study will also examine the distribution of publicly-funded agencies, psychiatrists, and private providers, and the extent to which sociodemographic factors (e.g., family income) are related to the distribution of child and youth MH services.

If the distribution of agencies, psychiatrists, and private providers varies by regions, this would likely result in inequity in access to care for individuals in regions with fewer agencies/providers. Second, if the distribution of agencies, psychiatrists, and private providers varies by region as a function of sociodemographic factors, it would also reflect inequities in access to care. Identification of inequity is the first step to addressing those inequities and ultimately improving the systems in place to care for children and youth with mental health problems.