The following evidence summaries and webinars were compiled and developed (many in partnership with Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO)) to support the delivery of child and youth mental health services — and the teams who provide them — in the face of unprecedented challenges, evolving needs and increasing demand.

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Visit our COVID-19 response page to learn more about other work we have undertaken in response to the pandemic, including research on its impacts on the mental health of young people and an evaluation of our sector’s transition to virtual care.

Evidence summaries

Child and youth mental health agencies across Ontario have been working hard to continue to provide services in the face of unprecedented challenges, evolving needs and increasing demand. As the pandemic forced a rapid transition to virtual care, the Centre and Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) set to work to develop and compile resources to support the delivery of  child and youth mental health services — and the teams who provide them. 

Virtual group therapy (March 2021)

As organizations in Ontario’s community-based child and youth mental health sector continue to integrate virtual care options into their regular suite of services, many are excited by the opportunities presented by virtual group therapy. There are however several barriers that prevent widespread uptake, including limited research on implementation and effectiveness. This document summarizes the latest evidence on how to deliver virtual group therapy for children and young people with mental health challenges and how to deal with common challenges.

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Evaluating and improving e-mental health services (November 2020)

To ensure high-quality care, and to plan for longer-term implementation of e-mental health services for children and youth, agencies are encouraged to evaluate current virtual care offerings. Understanding what has worked well, challenges and how these have been addressed will enable the sector, post-pandemic, to take deliberate steps to adding virtual care options to their suite of mental health services for families. This document presents guidelines to help agencies evaluate the virtual care services they provide.

Download the PDF

Back to school (September 2020)

The beginning of the school year can be an adjustment for children and young people in a normal year. Yet this year they are also facing extraordinary circumstances relating to the pandemic and infection control and prevention measures. To support service providers, young people and families in addressing stress related to back-to-school plans, we partnered with Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) and developed a suite of evidence reviews, resources and tools — and we will be adding more in the coming weeks.

Check out our evidence summary for community service providers

Consult the back-to-school mental health kit.

Supporting bereaved families (August 2020)

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, some children, youth and families have experienced the loss of loved ones due to COVID-19 or other health-related causes. COVID-19 has impacted the way families and children are able to grieve and mourn the death of a loved one. Physical distancing restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have made it difficult for people to be present or to physically comfort family members or friends who are ill or dying. Service providers have identified the need for knowledge around the unique complexities of mourning and loss during a pandemic and key considerations when supporting bereaved children, youth and families.

The Centre and Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) have compiled evidence and resources to help child and youth mental health service providers support families experiencing grief during the pandemic.

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Pandemic impacts on child and youth mental health (July 2020)

The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in a rapid change to how community mental health services and supports are delivered. In addition to impacting the way services are delivered (with many providers shifting from in-person to virtual care), we have also heard anecdotally that the pandemic has impacted who is accessing services and the range and severity of presenting concerns.

Ontario’s service providing agencies have asked how can we prepare now to ensure we have the capacity to meet the volume and types of emerging child and youth mental health needs both through and post-pandemic?

Download the PDF

Check out our related webinar: The impact of COVID-19 on early years mental health

Supporting the wellbeing of mental health service providers (June 2020)

The emergence of COVID-19 in populations across the globe has had a significant impact on the delivery of child and youth mental health services in Ontario. Service providers and organizational leaders have been required to shift their usual ways of working to adapt their services and deliver virtual and/or in-person care safely. These unanticipated changes, along with changes to community and family life in response to the pandemic (e.g. social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine) have created the “perfect storm” for the emergence of mental health challenges and burnout across direct service providers.

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Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (April 2020)

Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) is a structured form of psychotherapy in which clients receive psychological support through email or online modules. The level of therapist support involved in guiding therapy, the duration, and specific program elements vary across individual programs. Overall, the evidence suggests that iCBT is an effective alternative (or complement, in some cases) to traditional in-person cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), while addressing common access barriers associated with in-person CBT (e.g., perceived stigma, cost, geographical access in rural and remote areas, wait times).

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Supporting virtual teams and remote clinical supervision (April 2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way community-based child and youth mental health agencies provide support to families. To comply with orders of the emergency declaration in Ontario (March 17, 2020; extended on March 30, 2020) and associated efforts to promote physical distancing, many agencies are delivering professional services through virtual visits and telephone, having rapidly transitioned to using online platforms and tools that allow service providers to work from home. This sudden adjustment to a new way of working brings novel challenges for supervisors and teams.

To support our community partners during this challenging time, the Centre and Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) scanned the academic and grey literature for practical guidance for supervisors managing virtual teams. The content and resources shared in this document were not collected through an exhaustive search or systematic review, and reflect information available at the time of writing.

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Talking to children and youth about COVID‑19 (April 2020)

The emergence of COVID-19 in populations across the globe has had a significant impact on children, youth and families. To support our community partners during this challenging time, the Centre compiled links to resources published by child and youth mental health organizations, professional associations and organizations relevant to child and youth care, to support discussions between parents/caregivers and children and youth.

The resources shared were gathered through a rapid, non-systematic scan of practice guidelines with an intent to support you in a timely fashion. The resources shared were not collected through an exhaustive search or systematic review, but reflect information available at the time of writing. As new practice evidence emerges, recommendations may evolve.

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E-mental health services (April 2020)

The emergence of COVID-19 in populations across the globe has had a significant impact on the delivery of face-to-face child and youth mental health services in Ontario. In order to continue to meet the needs of children, youth and families, many service-providing agencies are rapidly moving to deliver care through telecommunication technologies. To support our community partners during this challenging time, the Centre and Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) have compiled:

  • information about ongoing work our organizations are leading to support the delivery of high-quality e-mental health services for Ontario’s children and youth; and
  • links to practice guidelines, toolkits and other resources published by professional colleges, associations and institutions relevant to the delivery of e-mental health services in Ontario. 

Download the PDF

Privacy considerations for delivering e-mental health services (April 2020)

The emergence of COVID-19 in populations across the globe has had a significant impact on the delivery of face-to-face child and youth mental health services in Ontario. In order to continue to meet the needs of children, youth and families, many service-providing agencies are rapidly moving to deliver care through telecommunication technologies. To support our community partners during this challenging time, the Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health (the Centre) and Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) have compiled:

  • a summary of privacy considerations that outline the main governing bodies and legislation that should be consulted when delivering virtual care; and
  • links to practice guidelines, toolkits and other resources published by professional colleges, associations and institutions relevant to the privacy considerations for the delivery of e-mental health services in Ontario.

Download the PDF

Webinars

Three approaches to ongoing monitoring and evaluation (March 4, 2021)

Following our October 2020 webinar summarizing the findings of the province-wide evaluation of our sector’s transition to virtual care, this webinar features panelists sharing three different approaches to the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of virtual care in child and youth mental health. This includes a developmental evaluation and two mixed-method evaluations looking at client and caregiver perceptions, in one case, and client and staff surveys in the other.

The webinar recording is available here.

Virtual realities: Responding to complex child and youth mental health needs during a pandemic (February 19, 2021)

Hear from clinical experts with a long history of responding to the complex mental health needs of children and young people. Learn from their experiences about applying typical risk assessment and management skills in a virtual setting and ensuring safe and equitable virtual care while encountering increasing levels of mental health problems and high-risk situations.

The webinar recording is available here.

The impact of COVID-19 on early years mental health (January 21, 2021)

Learn about the first wave pandemic experiences of Canadian families with children under the age of 6 and the types of services they did or did not have access to (based on a survey conducted in collaboration with Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion, Children First and Kids Brain Health Network). Hear our recommendations to make sure that families have access to the practical and mental health supports they need to ensure positive social-emotional development in their young children both during and post-pandemic.

The webinar recording is available here.

Evaluation of virtual care in response to COVID-19 (October 26, 2020)

On October 26, 2020, we joined forces with Children’s Mental Health Ontario to present a webinar outlining a province-wide evaluation of virtual care conducted between April and September 2020. Throughout the webinar we discussed what was working well, what wasn’t and how agencies and services providers can improve virtual services going forward.

The recording is available here.

Back to school during COVID-19: What community-based child and youth mental health providers need to know (September 1, 2020)

Back-to-school season can be stressful for many children, young people and families — and the pandemic is adding another layer of complexity to the situation. In partnership with Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO), we hosted a webinar focused on getting ready to support children, young people and their families as they make this transition, which looks like nothing we have encountered before.

In this webinar, a panel of presenters shared:

  • what the evidence tells us we might expect to see in children and young people as they prepare to return to school.
  • what young people and families are telling us they are experiencing and need.
  • resources, tools and tips to help you support clients.

The recording is available here.

Grade 12 to post-secondary: Transitions during COVID-19 (July 21, 2020)

In July 2020 the Centre co-presented a webinar on how frontline staff in both campus and community settings can help build and bridge support for students transition to post-secondary education. This webinar was hosted by CICMH and presenters included the Centre, Children’s Mental Health Ontario, School Mental Health Ontario and Good2Talk.

The recording is available here.

Managing high-risk situations in virtual care (June 6, 2020)

On June 6, 2020, the Centre, School Mental Health Ontario and Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario presented a webinar on High intensity virtual care as part of the Virtual Care Learning Series.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and affecting many aspects of our lives, service providers in schools and community-based child and youth mental health settings are continuing to provide services through virtual care to support Ontario’s children, youth and families. In some instances, practitioners are encountering or are alert to high risk situations (like family violence, concerns about abuse, suicidal behavior) and are wondering about how best to manage these types of challenging scenarios virtually.

In this webinar, a panel of experienced virtual care clinicians answered questions from mental health professionals serving children, youth, and families throughout Ontario about how best to provide high intensity mental health services virtually, including a focus on:

  • Technical and practical aspects of delivering virtual care in times of crisis
  • Assessing and managing risky situations
  • Considerations for creating appropriate pathways to care that address high-risk situations
  • Clinician self-care

The recording is available here. 

Virtual care 101 for child and youth mental health (April 25, 2020)

On April 25, 2020 the Centre and School Mental Health Ontario co-hosted a webinar as an introduction to virtual mental health care delivery to child and youth mental health service providers working in community-based or school settings.

This webinar focused on responding to stakeholder questions in five key areas: getting ready to deliver virtual care; ethics, privacy and legal considerations when delivering virtual care; engaging with clients in virtual care; clinical considerations (including risk assessment); and generally increasing comfort and troubleshooting issues when delivering virtual care.

The recording is available here.