McGuinty Government Expanding Telepsychiatry Services For Children And Youth

by NationTalk on May 11, 2007831 Views

May 10, 2007

Increased Funding Will Enhance Access To Child Psychiatrists Across Ontario

TORONTO – The McGuinty government is helping more children and youth with mental health and behavioural challenges get the help they need by expanding Ontario’s telepsychiatry program to 10 new rural, remote and underserved communities across the province, Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers announced today.“Helping children and youth with mental health challenges receive the support they need to achieve their potential is a key priority,” said Chambers. “That’s why our government has increased funding for the children and youth mental health sector by nearly $80 million since 2004. And that’s why we will continue to strengthen community programs such as telepsychiatry, so children and youth get the services they need, delivered in an integrated and holistic way.”

Ontario’s telepsychiatry program is a creative solution for increasing access and reducing wait times for children and youth in rural, remote and underserved communities. It uses videoconferencing to provide children, youth and their families or caregivers with access to clinical consultations with a child psychiatrist without having to leave their local communities. It also provides agency staff with vital education and training to build their professional expertise, so they can provide better service to young people in these communities.

The additional $1.5 million investment this year brings the government’s total investment in Ontario’s telepsychiatry program to $2.4 million annually. These funds will support service delivery to 10 new rural, remote and underserved communities across the province through the addition of two new hubs to Ontario’s existing telepsychiatry network. The program’s capacity will be increased to provide approximately 1,400 consultations annually, beginning this year.

The two new hubs will deliver services to community agencies and are expected to be operational by the end of May 2007. They are:

– a Western Hub in London, operated by the Child and Parent Resource Institute in partnership with the London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph’s Regional Mental Health Care London, Windsor Regional Hospital and the University of Western Ontario;
– an Eastern Hub in Ottawa, operated by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

The program is currently operated by the Hospital for Sick Children, the Central Hub, which delivers services to 14 communities in rural, remote and underserved areas across the province.

Since 2004, the McGuinty government has spearheaded other important changes that will build on and benefit children and youth with special needs and their families. As a result:

– Starting this year, Ontario’s children and youth with mental health challenges will benefit from an additional $24.5 million annual investment across the province. This builds on previous investments in more than 260 child and youth mental health agencies and 17 hospital-based outpatient programs.
– Children’s treatment centres are providing more services to almost 7,000 more young people with physical and developmental disabilities and other special needs. These community-based centres serve approximately 45,000 children and youth every year.
– The number of children with Autism receiving Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI) services has more than doubled since 2003 to more than 1,100, and children are no longer being discharged on the basis of age.
– More urban Aboriginal children and youth are receiving the support, tools and activities needed to make healthy choices through Akwe:go, a community-based program administered by the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres and delivered in 27 Ontario communities

“We owe it to our most vulnerable children and youth to do all we can to help them reach their full potential,” said Chambers. “By strengthening supports for our young people, we are helping more children and youth become healthy, productive adults.”

Also see:
Fact Sheet — Ontario’s Expanded Telepsychiatry Services

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