Parents for Children's Mental Health

Parents for Children's Mental Health

May 04, 2011 13:59 ET

Children and Youth Mental Health Week a Good Time to Pledge Support for Family-Centred Services

Parent Group Calls for Navigation Services, Support Services and a New Layer of Assistance to Families as Key to an Effective Mental Health Strategy

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 4, 2011) - A leading parent organization is calling on the Provincial Government to support the continued development of family-centred mental health services as part of its mental health strategy. Applauding the recent budget promise of $257 million in new funding, Parents for Children's Mental Health (PCMH) is recommending support and expansion of programs that involve families in determining their children's needs, promote partnerships between families and service providers, and support a stronger role for families in making decisions about services for their child.

This approach, known widely in the mental health community as family-centred care, has growing support among mental health care professionals. An example is the 'Made in Ontario' model of Family Support Provision, a program developed through a partnership of PCMH, Kinark Child and Family Services, and The Ministry of Child and Youth Services (MCYS). The program will provide navigation services, support services, and an added layer of assistance for families dealing with child and youth mental illness.

"Experts, service providers and families all agree that we are facing a child and youth mental health crisis, and the recent budget announcement was a big step forward." said Sarah Cannon, Executive Director of PCMH. "But as the government develops its mental health strategy it will be important to commit to better communication, integration, and navigation services to help families access the supports they need. Overcoming fragmentation and duplication of services can only be fixed if mental health services are integrated on the basis of understanding and serving the needs of families as a whole."

Support for the Made in Ontario model is in line with the recommendations of the government's own Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions, which calls for the introduction of Systems Navigators. Along lines similar to the Ontario program, the Harbor News in Connecticut recently reported a major US Health Department grant to initiate Peer Navigation. "Among many professionals and service providers this whole approach is a no-brainer" said Cannon. "As we observe Children and Youth Mental Health Week, we hope the Province deepens its commitment to the Family Support Provision and similar initiatives."

Contact Information