BC Medical Association: New Program Helps Family Doctors Treat Mental Health Challenges in Children and Youth Presented at Family Medicine Forum in Toronto

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 16, 2012) - The Child and Youth Mental Health module, a new program enabling family physicians in British Columbia to better treat mental health disorders in children and youth, will be featured in a presentation Friday, November 16th at the Family Medicine Forum 2012, held at the Toronto Convention Centre.

The presentation, entitled Child and Youth Mental Health: Office and community strategies, will be given from 10:00am to 5:00pm in room 401 - MTCC. More information is available at The General Practice Services Committee in Booth 301, South Building, Hall E.

An example of government and physician collaboration, the program was developed by the Practice Support Program (PSP), a joint committee of the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Medical Association (BCMA), and in partnership with Dr. Stan Kutcher, an internationally-renowned expert in adolescent mental health. Also involved were psychiatric specialists, pediatricians, school counsellors, and staff of the provincial ministries of both education and children, and family development.

The new program was announced yesterday in Vancouver by Health Minister Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, and BCMA President Dr. Shelley Ross. It focuses on children suffering from mild to moderate anxiety, depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - all of which can be difficult to diagnose in youth.

Children and youth who suffer from mental health disorders are often stigmatized and alienated by peers in their communities and schools. With this new program, family physicians will be able to better identify and manage problems early on, while working with community partners to provide a 'wrap-around' system of care that goes beyond the doctor's office.

The program emphasizes non-drug treatments first, providing family physicians with evidence-based tools to help them provide appropriate assessment, treatment and support. The program further enhances care by having physicians work in partnership with families, and by supporting specialist physicians, school counsellors, and local child and youth mental health clinicians.

Benefits of the new program include:

  • Increased patient access to mental health care.
  • Skills, knowledge and easy-to-use tools to help physicians treat their younger patients.
  • Ability for young patients and their families to receive mental health care in their family physician's office.
  • Collaboration with school counsellors for early identification of symptoms of mental health challenges - the earlier the detection, the better the treatment outcomes.
  • Enhanced coordination and collaboration between family physicians, psychiatrists, pediatricians, school counsellors, and child and youth mental health clinicians.

The module was mirrored after PSP's highly successful Adult Mental Health module, which was launched in 2009 and has over 1,400 family physician participants - more than 90% of whom feel their training on the program improved their patient care.

For more information on the Child and Youth Mental Health module visit: www.pspbc.ca

Contact Information:

BC Medical Association
Sharon Shore
Senior Manager, Communications and Media Relations
604 638-2832 or 604 306-1866 (pgr)

Ministry of Health
Ryan Jabs
Media Relations Manager
250 952-1887 (media line)