eastern healNew program targets mentally ill teens, young adults

In focus groups, teens have told eastern Ontarios providers of mental health services there appeared to be no place for them in the health system once they turned 16.

The $145,000 project, funded by the Champlain LHIN, is expected to include followup evaluations of participants to measure the programs effectiveness.

eastern healNew program targets mentally ill teens, young adults,The program targets young people between the ages of 16 to 24, who are at high risk of abandoning psychiatric care because mental health services are so poorly connected that many simply ll through the cracks as they make the transition to adulthood.

The young people would be referred to the program by officials at the regions major mental-health service providers. Health officials are also working to involve schools, universities and colleges in the program, recognizing that the education system plays a key role in supporting young people with mental illness.

A new test program is being launched to better connect mentally ill young people, who are woefully underserved, with the right health and social services as they enter adulthood.

The new program is meant to be a first step toward correcting these flaws. Under it, up to 115 young people would be referred over the next 18 months to a transition coordinator, who would work with each patient to design a treatment plan that would cater to their needs as they moved through the youth-toadult phase. Since it began two months ago, 32 patients have already been enrolled.

They talked about an apparent absence of any plan for them on their 16th birthday. They felt like when they turned 16, they were put in a wheelchair and brought to The Ottawa Hospital, said Karen Tataryn, regional directeastern healNew program targets mentally ill teens, young adultsor of children and youth mental health services. Without doubt, the youth felt very clearly that accessing adult services was a significant challenge foreastern health and social services board them.

The parents of these young people complained about being left on their own to sort through complicated bureaucracies, multiple waiting lists and conflicting advice.

What we really need to be thinking about is how can successful transitions augment the lives of youth so that they can contribute meaningfully to society and manage the burden of their illness, said Dr. Simon Davidson, chief psych-iatrist at the Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

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