Children’s Health Research Institute’s Award-Winning Research Project Brings Kids’ Mental Health Needs to The Forefront  

“No one listens to me,” “I’m all alone,” “I don’t have any friends,” “I’m worried all the time…”  

This is what mental health struggles sound like for our kids. And throughout the pandemic, those thoughts were worse than ever.  

But our medical professionals heard their cries for help.  

By launching a research project focused on the increased mental health needs of our kids, dedicated clinicians and researchers at Children’s Health Research Institute (CHRI) a program of the Lawson Health Research Institute, help ensure that kids struggling with mental health issues are met with specialized care – just for them.  

This life-saving research titled, “Ambulatory care visits and admissions for suicidal ideation and self- harm in Canadian adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based analysis,” looks at which age group of kids experienced an increase in some of the most severe mental health issues – self harm and suicidal ideation – and ensures our community is educated about how certain age groups experience significant vulnerabilities during mass events like the global pandemic.   

CHRI’s findings show that ambulatory care visits and admissions for emotional symptoms, suicidal ideation, and self-harm during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic increased significantly among adolescents aged 10 to 14 years in Canada.  

Our pre-teens and teens need us to continue standing by them! As Children’s Health Foundation funds this ground-breaking research project, CHRI is able to highlight the importance of promoting public health policies that can help mitigate the impact of pandemics on our kids’ mental health.  

Recognized by The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) as winner of the 2022 CPS Mental Health Section Research Award, and conditionally accepted as an upcoming publication in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the extremely positive reception of this research in its early days signals to our community exactly how important protecting our kids’ mental health is throughout a pandemic.  

As a Paediatric Emergency Physician and research lead of the project, Dr. Naveen Poonai explains, “CPS’s recognition signifies that the wider academic community, regardless of their discipline, recognizes the importance of mental health as an emerging issue in younger adolescents. This award and the potential publication set the stage for collaboration to help mitigate the effects of mental health on young adolescents, both the pandemic and into the future.”      

CHRI has the passion of the paediatric medical community behind them to help make positive change for our kids’ as they experience lasting mental health effects!  

Thanks to our community’s unwavering support of health care excellence at Children’s Hospital, Children’s Health Research Institute and TVCC, we are moving into better days. This ground-breaking research, funded by Children’s Health Foundation, can help create the tailored mental health care our kids’ need to rebuild resilience and move forward from the pandemic with hope!   

On October 15 and 16, you can help fund valuable mental health initiatives our kids rely on by participating in the RBC Run for the Kids.  Learn more and register here: 

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