In 2017 we set out to bridge the gap between primary care and community-based mental health services. We published Paving the path to connected care: Strengthening the interface between primary care and community-based child and youth mental health services and committed to put key recommendations from that policy paper into action.

Want to know more about why we need pathways and how they help? See our care pathways page.

From recommendations to action

Beginning in 2018, with partners in Toronto and Algoma, we:

  • created community advisory groups to promote communication between providers from different care settings.
  • supported these providers to work together to create care pathways for their communities.
  • helped them integrate a standardized tool — the HEADS-ED — into their pathways.

After the first phase, we conducted an evaluation, which showed that there was already an improved flow of communication between participating providers. Clients provided positive feedback, sharing that they felt relieved not to have to repeat their story multiple times. Now, Primary care pathways includes six demonstration sites, putting pathways to the test in communities across Ontario:

  • Algoma
  • Belleville
  • Cornwall
  • Elgin/Oxford
  • Toronto
  • Windsor

For more information about Primary care pathways, please email us.

What is HEADS-ED?

HEADS-ED is a brief, easy-to-use mental health screening tool that looks at seven aspects of a child or youth's thought processes, behaviours and their surrounding social environment. Findings from this tool help guide assessment and decision-making about treatment and help primary care providers connect patients with the right community services. While it's already a proven tool for older children and youth, we're working to validate an adapted version of HEADS-ED for children ages five and under.