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Ottawa Public Health addressing gaps in mental health programs and services for children and youth

Date: Tuesday 14 August 2012

Ottawa – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is working with community partners to address gaps in mental health programs in Ottawa on the heels of the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey.

The mental health portion of the survey, conducted during the 2010/11 school year, found that one in three Ottawa students in grades 7 to12 reported elevated levels of psychological distress, over a quarter had been bullied on school property, and 12 per cent considered suicide in the past year.

“Momentum to address mental health and prevent suicide in our community continues to build, and the results of this survey make it clear much more can be done,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Medical Officer of Health. “That’s why Ottawa Public Health, along with partners such as the Youth Services Bureau, Le Centre psychosocial and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, is continuing its efforts to address gaps in mental health programs and services, particularly for children and youth.”

Supporting the Youth Services Bureau’s Youth Mental Health Walk-in Clinic, working with Ottawa-area school boards to increase resiliency and coping skills in youth through the Healthy Transitions program and partnering with Crossroads Children’s Centre and Centre Psychosocial to screen children for potential developmental, mental, social, and emotional issues before they start school are just some of the services OPH is proud to help deliver.

“Partnering with Ottawa Public Health has allowed the YSB to support more youth and their families in times of need,” said Joanne Lowe, Executive Director, Youth Services Bureau. “The results of this survey clearly show Ottawa’s children and youth need this kind of coordinated community support.”

OPH will be providing a full update on its strategy to promote mental health and prevent suicide among children and youth to the Board of Health at its next meeting, which will take place at City Hall in the Champlain Room, 110 Laurier Avenue West on August 20, 2012 at 5 p.m. They will be joined by representatives from the Youth Services Bureau and Le Centre Psychosocial.

“The inclusion of Francophone specific mental health resources and programs in Ottawa Public Health’s Mental Health Strategy is significant,” said Guy Bouchard, Clinical Director of Le Centre Psychosocial. “Ottawa Public Health understands the Francophone culture and community, and has targeted mental health programs to meet these needs. We value our partnership with OPH and look forward to continuing our work together to serve Francophone children in this community for years to come.”

Background:

What is the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey?

The survey has been conducted every two years since 1977 and features a random sample of students in grades 7 through 12, enrolled in Ontario’s public and separate school systems. Thanks to additional funding from OPH, a representative sample of 1,015 Ottawa students completed the survey in 2011. More data sets, including alcohol, drug and tobacco use, healthy eating active living and gambling will be released by OPH in the coming weeks and months

Mental Health, Youth Climate and Bullying Among Youth – Full report 2012

Mental Health, Youth Climate and Bullying Among Youth – Summary (Youth Facts) 2012

To learn more about the Ottawa data and mental health promotion and suicide prevention programming and services for children and youth, visit ottawa.ca/healthreports or call Ottawa Public Health Information at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with OPH on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth) for the latest public health information.

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Contact: City of Ottawa – Media Relations (613-580-2450), [email protected]

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