Banner with families
Print Book mark Send Zoom Out Zome In Reset

Message from the Executive Director

Providing quality mental health services to more children and youth

Our goal at SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (SickKids CCMH) is simple: to provide quality mental health services to more children and youth.

To achieve this goal, we are streamlining our processes and strengthening our model of care.  We are building partnerships and engaging the full continuum of services between The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), our centre and our service partners in the community. We are making tremendous progress, improving our quality, serving more clients and reducing wait times.

Exploring new possibilities with our innovative clinical models

Most of the mental health care we provide is based in the community and we are working together with SickKids to create smooth transitions between hospital and community-based care. This past year saw the development of integrated care pathways, with patients being referred from SickKids directly into SickKids CCMH services, such as Day Treatment and Outpatient. SickKids CCMH, in turn, has referred clients to SickKids in such areas as Urgent Care, Chronic Care, and the Day Program in Psychiatry. Staff from across various departments both at the hospital and the community sites are working together to provide care at the right place and the right time for our clients and patients.

The staff and clinicians at SickKids CCMH have also been directly involved in enhancing our model of care. These include enabling us to collect assessment and outcome data electronically; introducing more clinical service offerings to address wait times in our Outpatient services; working diligently to improve safety in our Day Treatment services; enhancing our behaviour management skills and processes in Intensive services; and ensuring our Residential services are more optimally utilized.

Enhancing our data

We have now implemented a new process around Intake and Assessment that leverages technology from SickKids. With our improved data gathering processes we have improved data quality as well, enabling us, for the first time, to track continually our clinical outcomes from the initial call up to discharge. It also informed the development of our new quality improvement plan (to launch later this fall) – another first of its kind for a community-based mental health provider.

Investing in our infrastructure

Complementing these efforts has been the visible evidence of investment in our infrastructure at our two city sites, Sheppard and Jarvis, including computer upgrades, new signage, painting, flooring, fencing, security features, and the gymnasium at the Jarvis site. The upgrades to our physical spaces gives our clients the message that mental health matters, and that they matter.

Educating and training professionals near and far

The former Gail Appel Institute is also looking at improving the quality and accessibility of their training. Now integrated with the SickKids Learning Institute, it has a new name: SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health Learning Institute. The institute is building capacity among mental health professionals providing care in the community and trained over 1,300 professionals this past year. The new strategy at the institute will see the reach of their training grow across the city, province, and the country, sharing their expertise with professionals near and far through remote technologies.

Improving care through our new strategic plan

We engaged many stakeholders to develop our strategic plan for the future and we seem to be moving in the right direction. The World Health Organization has prioritized mental health and predicts that by 2030 – only 12 years away – mental health will be the leading cause of disability worldwide. We have seen our referral rates go up and while this reflects the concerning need for service across all populations, it also reflects something hopeful: that many more people are willing to reach out for mental health services, and that we are overcoming the long-standing stigma associated with mental health conditions. We will look to our new strategic plan to guide us in enhancing quality, supporting the health system, invest in our infrastructure and people, continue to innovate and maintain our financial accountability and together we will contribute to serving our patients’ needs. I also share in the optimism of my colleague, Dr. Peter Szatmari, in that there is sense of collaboration in the area of clinical delivery of mental health services for children and youth like never before. The difference we can make in the lives of our clients and patients is truly limitless.

Christina Bartha
Executive Director
Brain and Mental Health Program, SickKids
and SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health
For the Senior Leadership Team, SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health