Mental Health

Our Multidisciplinary Approach

Mental Health Research at CHEO integrates the three pillars of our mission of high quality clinical care, ground-breaking research, and the education of the next generation of clinical scholars. A number of active research groups exist in psychiatric emergency services, eating disorders, ADHD, pediatric-mental health interface, and knowledge mobilization and outcomes management. Among the research scholars are local, provincial, national, and international leaders of research in child and youth mental health. All of the research enterprises are fully embedded in clinical practice creating the opportunity for the mental health community to be the type of learning environment expected in one of Canada’s leading pediatric teaching hospitals.

Mental Health in the Emergency Department

While 15% of children and youth live with a mental illness, only 1 in 6 receives any substantial mental health services. Emergency Departments (ED) are increasingly becoming a primary source to obtain mental health services for children and youth. Some researchers propose that this increase is due to lack of inpatient and outpatient mental health services. The range of mental health emergency services provided and the subsequent direct and indirect follow-up care after discharge from the emergency department varies with limited understanding of the factors that influence clinical decision making. The long-term goal of this research is to develop evidence-based practice and clinical guidelines for the delivery of ED mental health services for children and youth.

Related News

Research Projects

  1. Sexual health of adolescent patients admitted to a psychiatric unit

    01/04/2022

    As many adolescents, particular those struggling with mental illness, do not attend preventative health visits, screening for pregnancy risk and other reproductive health needs is recommended at every adolescent encounter and in all settings.

  2. Examining the Bidirectional Association Between Body Esteem and Body Mass Index During Adolescence

    01/11/2021

    The decreasing trajectory of body esteem over time suggests the need for prevention efforts to improve body esteem throughout adolescence.

  3. Motivational Interviewing and the Use of Psychological Services Among Youth With Chronic

    01/10/2021

    All specialized pediatricians have a role to play in ensuring that at-risk youth with CMCs receive the psychiatric support they need.

  4. Building Resilience and Attachment in Vulnerable Adolescents (BRAVA): a brief group intervention for adolescents with mild-to-moderate suicidal ideation and their caregivers

    08/09/2021

    Further studies are required to establish BRAVA’s efficacy in a randomized controlled trial.

  5. Longitudinal association between movement behaviours and depressive symptoms among adolescents using compositional data analysis.

    02/09/2021

    Isotemporal substitution estimates indicated that decreasing screen time by 60 minutes/day and replacing that time with 60 minutes of additional sleep is associated with the largest change in depressive symptoms across all subgroups.

  6. Moving Towards Racial Equity in the Child and Youth Mental Health Sector in Ontario, Canada

    30/07/2021

    As we highlight these domains, we urge researchers, policy makers, and child and youth mental health service providers to work together to advance racial equity in meaningful ways.

  7. Psychological and Demographic Determinants of Substance Use and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    25/06/2021

    These characteristics should be considered when developing prevention and treatment programs for adults with problematic alcohol use and comorbid anxiety and depression.

  8. Implementation and evaluation of a curriculum on the assessment and treatment of disruptive behaviour disorders

    03/04/2021

    Pre–post-evaluation of the curriculum showed improved knowledge in participants.

  9. Psychiatric disorders in emerging adults with diabetes transitioning to adult care: a retrospective cohort study

    12/02/2021

    Prolonged gaps in care during transfer to adult care are common and may be associated with increased psychiatric disorder risk. Developmental factors associated with adolescence and emerging adulthood may further amplify this risk.

  10. Psychological Correlates of Sedentary Screen Time Behaviour Among Children and Adolescents: a Narrative Review

    09/12/2020

    Practitioners, parents, policy makers and researchers should collectively identify and evaluate strategies to reduce screen time, or to use screens more adaptively, as a means of promoting better mental health among children and adolescents.

  11. Development of a Clinical Pathway for the Assessment and Management of Suicidality on a Pediatric Psychiatric Unit

    24/09/2020

    This framework, developed with the aim to standardize care for psychiatrically admitted suicidal children and adolescents, may serve as a flexible template for use in similar settings and could be adapted according to local realities and resources.

  12. Head to toe practice: Implementation and outcomes of a suicide screener in pediatric hospital inpatient units

    19/08/2020

    The hope is that this new practice will reduce emergency hospital visits for mental health crises and facilitate early access to mental health services.

  13. Evaluating the psychometric properties of the parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in a nationally representative sample of Canadian children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years

    19/08/2020

    The original five-factor, parent-rated SDQ demonstrates evidence of factorial validity and reliability as a population measure of mental health difficulties among Canadian children and adolescents.

  14. Medications for sleep disturbance in children and adolescents with depression: a survey of Canadian child and adolescent psychiatrists

    01/03/2020

    Melatonin and certain off-label psychotropic drugs are perceived as being more effective and appropriate to address sleep disturbances in children and adolescents with depression.

  15. Exploring Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for parents of preterm infants

    01/02/2020

    One promising intervention that has not been explored in the NICU is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a behavioural therapy that has had positive mental health-related outcomes in similar parental populations.

  16. Health outcomes associated with emergency department visits by adolescents for self-harm: a propensity-matched cohort study

    06/11/2019

    Adolescents with emergency department visits for self-harm have higher rates of mortality, suicide and recurrent self-harm, as well as higher health care costs, than matched controls.

  17. The effect of high-intensity interval training on inhibitory control in adolescents hospitalized for a mental illness.

    01/10/2019

    The impact of pre-therapy HIIT to enhance focus and reduce impulsive thoughts and behaviours may improve adolescent patients’ response to mental health treatment.

  18. Evaluation of eMentalHealth.ca, a Canadian Mental Health Website Portal: Mixed Methods Assessment

    01/09/2019

    Web analytic results showed that from January 1 to December 31, 2017, there were 651,107 users, with 1.97 million page views.

  19. Health trajectories of children with severe obesity attending a weight management program

    12/07/2019

    Findings highlight the need to examine both mental and physical health outcomes beyond 1 year.

  20. Changing Rates of Self-Harm and Mental Disorders by Sex in Youths Presenting to Ontario Emergency Departments: Repeated Cross-Sectional Study

    01/06/2019

    Rates of adolescents with self-harm and mental health ED visits have increased since 2009, with greater increases among females. Research is required on the determinants of adolescents’ self-harm and mental health ED visits and how they can be addressed in that setting.

  21. Effects of weight teasing and gender on body esteem in youth: A longitudinal analysis from the REAL study

    01/06/2019

    Results suggest the weight teasing sources’ gender may differentially impact the victims’ body esteem, and highlights the need to consider these factors in weight teasing prevention strategies.

  22. Obesity class versus the Edmonton Obesity Staging System for Pediatrics to define health risk in childhood obesity: results from the CANPWR cross-sectional study

    02/04/2019

    As BMI class increased, a concomitant increased disease burden in mechanical and social milieu issues was observed, whereas metabolic and mental health risks were high across BMI classes.

  23. Embodied motherhood: Exploring body image in pregnant and parenting youth

    01/02/2019

    Future research exploring prepregnancy depression, eating disorder, body esteem, and depression in pregnant youth are needed.

  24. Could long-term administration of melatonin to prepubertal children affect timing of puberty? A clinician’s perspective

    31/01/2019

    We conclude that to investigate an association between melatonin and pubertal timing, it will be important to conduct long-term randomized controlled trials of latency age children and also examine the cellular and systems-level interactions between melatonin and kisspeptin, a recently identified neuropeptide with a locus of action at the gonadotropin releasing hormone neurons that is important in contributing to the timing of puberty onset.

  25. Self-Inflicted Injury-Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP-SI): a new surveillance tool for detecting self-inflicted injury events in emergency departments

    11/10/2018

    To assess the performance of the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program’s newly developed self-harm surveillance tool (CHIRPP-SI) designed to improve emergency department (ED) hospital surveillance of youth self-inflicted injury (SI).

  26. The mental health of adolescents and pre-adolescents living with inherited arrhythmia syndromes: A systematic review of the literature

    01/05/2018

  27. Finding Ways Forward: Social Justice for Counsellors in the Evolution of a Collaborative Practice and Study Group

    01/01/2018

    The chapter is a demonstration of how an ethic of social justice plays out among counselors in a collective process of co-creating a study group uniquely suited to the needs of its members.

  28. Brain on Fire: Incentive Salience, Hedonic Hot Spots, Dopamine, Obesity, and Other Hunger Games

    21/08/2017

    The surgical and pharmacological treatments of obesity are discussed, and evidence is presented for the selective use of DA-class drugs in obesity treatment.

  29. Treat Me But Don’t Judge Me: A Qualitative Examination of Health Care Experiences of Pregnant and Parenting Youth

    03/04/2017

    To engage this high-risk population in health care, practitioners are encouraged to consider their own biases when servicing this population and work toward fostering positive, nonjudgmental interactions, and supportive environments.

  30. Predictors of Repeated Visits to a Pediatric Emergency Department Crisis Intervention Program

    30/08/2016

    Repeat visits account for a large portion of all MH presentations to the PED. Furthermore, several patient characteristics are significant predictors of repeat PED use and of repeating use sooner and more frequently.

  31. A Pilot Study of Citalopram Treatment in Preventing Relapse of Depressive Episode after Acute Treatment

    01/02/2016

    Subjects with depression who responded to open label treatment with citalopram in 12-week acute phase were randomized to continued treatment with citalopram or placebo for 24 weeks.

  32. Effects of aerobic training, resistance training, or both on psychological health in adolescents with obesity: The HEARTY randomized controlled trial

    31/08/2015

    Resistance training, alone or in combination with aerobic training, may provide psychological benefits in adolescents with overweight or obesity, and therefore could be an alternative to aerobic training for some individuals in the biological and psychological management of adolescent obesity.

Researchers

  1. Rebecca Balasa

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  2. Addo Boafo

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  3. Melanie Buba

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  4. Annick Buchholz

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  5. Jean-Philippe Chaput

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  6. Michael Cheng

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  7. Paula Cloutier

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  8. Virginie Cobigo

    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  9. Evangeline Danseco

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  10. Asif Doja

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  11. William Gardner

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  12. Gary Goldfield

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  13. Stephanie Greenham

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  14. Megan Harrison

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  15. Andrée-Anne Ledoux

    Scientist CHEO Research Institute

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  16. Patricia Longmuir

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  17. Nathalie Major

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  18. Mark Norris

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  19. Nicole Obeid

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  20. Phillippe Robaey

    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  21. Marie-Eve Robinson

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  22. Noah Spector

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  23. Mark S. Tremblay

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  24. Nancy Young

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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  25. Roger Zemek

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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Family Leaders

  1. Andy Statia

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  2. Angie Hamson

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  3. Bina Sharma

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  4. Carly Haydt

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  5. Claire Dawe-McCord

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  6. Emilie Hageltorn

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  7. Haishan Chen

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  8. Jaime Waitman

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  9. Laurie Woodward

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  10. Madleen Zapata-Martinez

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  11. Mairead Green

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  12. Michelle Vautour-Shales

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  13. Spencer Warren

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  14. Stephanie White

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