Friday, 09 March 2018 09:41

University of Lethbridge is delving into the healthcare system with a new research study on children’s mental health services

Written by  Demi Knight
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With the lack of services surrounding mental health in children causing concern for some parents, the University of Lethbridge is conducting a new study to help provide better options for families in the future.

Born through the expressions of parents’ frustrations and confusion at not being able to find appropriate mental health services for their children, the study has been initiated this year in hopes to gather information from the caretakers of younger generations facing these complications, and learn how better to address their variety of needs moving forward.
“Few studies have examined parents’ views about mental healthcare services, particularly in the pediatric population,” says Dr. Brenda Leung, the assistant professor for the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge on why this study is important within the area.
“In Alberta, little is known about the views of parents on their pathways to access of mental healthcare services. To date, no study has examined the experience of patients and their mental healthcare needs or identified avenues to access evidence-based treatment options.”
Designed with an intent to make sure the voices of both patients and their families are heard when accessing the best services available to them for mental healthcare, the study is currently focusing on finding new participants within parents.
By gaining caretaker input from those who reside in Alberta, those involved with the study hope to gather information on parental experiences of finding and obtaining the appropriate services needed for their children who have been diagnosed with a mood and/or anxiety disorder.
From this information, the study hopes to move forward in working with professionals to better improve mental health outcomes services and policies in the near future says Dr. Leung.
“Findings from this study may help to improve the mental health outcomes of children by identifying benefits and limitations of current treatment options, gaps in or barriers to services, as well as gaining an understanding of the experiences of families to inform service changes.”
Leung also stated since recent findings suggest families in Ontario contact an average of four agencies before finding the best path forward, this study may help parents find a less complicated and unburdened route forward when seeking the help they truly need for their children.
With the challenges families face in the search for healthcare services, Leung said navigating through the complicated system currently in place to find options for their children is an extra problem that this study hopes to eliminate moving forward.
Focusing on families living in both large and small urban areas as well as rural municipalities across the province, the ongoing study is now accepting new participants throughout the process to gather as much information and research as possible on the increasingly relevant topic for many throughout Alberta and beyond.
“The complex pattern of help-seeking likely increases the burden on the mental health care system and on families, and may reduce the likelihood that families are connected with the most appropriate treatment,” says Leung.
“So, there is recognition that the voices of patients and their families are vital in building research evidence to improve healthcare services and policies.”
Anyone interested in participating or learning more about the study can contact Leung at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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