Dr. Ashley Radomski (she/her) is Research Associate at the CHEO Research Institute and the Knowledge Institute on Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions in Ottawa, Ontario. Ashley has over 12 years of clinical research experience, bringing together service organizations, healthcare providers, young people and families from across the province to improve early access to quality mental health and addictions care. Her focus is working closely with community members to co-create and implement strategies that reflect their unique context, experience, needs, and preferences.
Meeting the service needs of youth with and without a self-reported mental health diagnosis during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced multiple, co-occurring stressors for youth, such as drastic changes to their daily routines, social interactions, and educational conditions (1,2). Relative to other life stages, adolescence is a critical period of social and emotional development (3), and one in which mental health (MH) and substance use disorders are more likely to emerge in the face of overwhelming change (4). For many youth, it seems that the MH impacts from COVID-19 have been detrimental (5–8). For others, their MH may not have changed, or even improved, due to fewer social or school-related pressures or increases in family bonding (9–12). For youth with existing MH concerns, diagnoses or risk factors, the MH effects of the pandemic may have been especially harmful (9,13,14), particularly for those whose access to services has been discontinued or disrupted (13).