The Mental Health (MH) Pillar has two goals:
- Getting the Right Care to People When They Need It: The health services researchers in the uOBMRI focus on creating exciting new methods to address problems in the MH care delivery system, working to improve access to evidence-based care for all ages of patients, no matter where they live. If our children, youth, and adults cannot access care, they cannot take advantage of new treatments that have been developed and our goal is to address this problem.
- Improving the Health of Our Patients: MH and physical health are intertwined and each affects the other. The uOBMRI researchers working on this goal are addressing problems such as the increased risk for heart disease in people who have chronic, severe MH problems or how exercise and diet affect MH problems, looking for new treatments and investigating mechanisms such as inflammation.
The MH Pillar is relatively new, but several projects have either been funded or are in the process of being funded:
- Improving Child and Youth Access to Outpatient MH Care: the uOBMRI funding helped support the first stage of implementation of the Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA) in the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) MH Outpatient Service. CAPA is a radically different way to deliver MH services to patients and families that places them at the centre of care. In the first year of CAPA, wait times to the first appointment were reduced by 90% from the pre-CAPA service delivery model and the second year revealed a 74% decrease over pre-CAPA wait times, despite a marked increase in the number of patients referred for care. Full implementation of CAPA takes approximately five years and also focuses on improving the quality of care, not just the wait times. More funds are needed to continue the full implementation process.
- Establishment of Research Networks: Because this is a new pillar, we do not have networks of researchers for each theme. Therefore, uOBMRI support was recently used to develop grants to establish cross-disciplinary research networks for each of the themes. Recipients of the grants will be announced by the end of December.
- Scientific Conferences: We also received uOBMRI support to host scientific conferences for each theme. One has already been scheduled for the Psychiatric-Medical Comorbidities theme in January. Another on the MH Services theme is being planned for spring of 2019.