Children’s Mental Health Ontario CEO Kimberly Moran was recently part of a panel at HealthAchieve, one of the largest and most respected health care events in North America. Kim was there to participate in a session about children’s mental health systems and the opportunity for integration.

The current services were developed without a plan and too many children and youth just receive crisis services in hospitals without getting the treatment that will make a difference in their lives. Kim talked about the tremendous opportunities for integrated services between hospitals, community agencies, primary care and schools, evidence-based decision making and care that puts clients/patients and their families first.

Among the key points Kim was sharing is that wait times for children and youth in need of mental health care in their communities are far too long. And, too many kids are trying to access mental health care in the emergency department.  Across the board, healthcare workers agree. Kids shouldn’t have to wait for help.  Their mental state might deteriorate, some will attempt suicide, and some may even die by suicide.  By treating kids when they first start having mental health issues, it will prevent them from needing hospitalization.

Other panelists also had some new and different ideas on children and youth mental health. Susan Pigott, the Chair of the Provincial Mental Health Leadership Advisory Council advised that everyone who cares about mental health should contact their MP as decision are being made right now regarding the Federal/Provincial Health Accord.

Several parents were in the audience and they agreed that youth mental health must be a priority.  They encouraged session participants to make this an issue with their MPP’s and MP’s.