Mario Cappelli

Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

Dr. Mario Cappelli is a Child Clinical Psychologist and a Clinician-Scientists working with children, youth, young adults and their families. He is currently the Senior Clinician Scientist at the Knowledge Institute for Child and Youth Mental Health and Addiction, an Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Cappelli’s research focus is how to best identify mental health and addiction needs and to match these needs to mental health services to children and youth in an effective and integrated way. He is the principal developer of the HEADS-ED tool which is widely to help screen mental health and addiction needs of young people and guide their care. His current research includes how to manage child and youth who are in crisis and present to Emergency Departments; and how to improve the integration of services between primary care, hospital, and community-based child and youth mental health and addiction services.

Research Projects

  1. Closing the Referral Loop: Piloting a Clinical Pathway Between Primary Care and Community-Based Mental Health and Addictions Services


  2. A Primary Care Mental Health Pathway for Children and Youth: A Mental Health Services Quality Improvement Initiative in Ontario


  3. 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).

  4. Building Resilience and Attachment in Vulnerable Adolescents: A Pilot Trial of a Brief Group Intervention for Adolescents with Mild to Moderate Suicidal Ideation and their Caregivers


    Study results demonstrate that the BRAVA intervention has the potential to reduce SI among adolescents who present to hospital services in crisis. Further studies are required to establish BRAVA's efficacy in a randomized controlled trial.

  5. Parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic: The sociodemographic and mental health factors associated with maternal caregiver strain


    Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new stressors for parents (“caregivers”) that may affect their own and their child’s mental health (MH). We explored self-reported levels of caregiver strain (parents’ perceived ability to meet parenting demands), and the MH and sociodemographic factors of caregivers to identify predictors of strain that can be used to guide MH service delivery for families.