New approach unveiled to help tackle mental health issues in teens

A recent Montreal Gazette story begins as follows:

Canada’s mental health care is so dysfunctional that more than 50 per cent of teens don’t get the care they need, says the head of a national project launched Friday in Montreal to help youths dealing with mental health issues.

One of the biggest problems is that the system doesn’t allow for immediate or timely access to care, said McGill University psychiatry professor Ashok Malla of the Douglas Mental Health Institute.

Malla will lead a five-year, Canada-wide research network, funded equally by private and public interests. The Canadian government via the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF) will each contribute $12.5 million, for a total of $25 million.

The new network, called ACCESS Canada, will fix that gap in care, he said.

“We’re going to find new ways of providing help to youth between the ages of 11 and 25,” said Malla, who is the director of the prevention and early intervention program for psychoses (PEPP-Montréal) at the Douglas, and Canada Research Chair in Early Psychosis.