Youth mental health in Manitoba, as well as across Canada, is a dire issue in need of attention.
70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence
10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder, but only 20% of children who need mental health services will receive them
Mental illness kills more people aged 15-34 in Canada than cancer and heart disease combined
The current wait time for mental health treatment for youth in Manitoba is 6 months or more
It is this collection of facts that inspired Carmyn Aleshka, founder of The Upside Down Tree, to create KIDTHINK Children's Mental Health Centre Inc. (KIDTHINK). She identified an opportunity to provide an innovative and wholistic solution to help solve this problem for Manitoba youth which involves the child's entire community.
THE KIDTHINK STORY
WHAT KIDTHINK IS
KIDTHINK is a mental health treatment center and outreach program that focuses on improving mental health services for children aged 12 and under in Manitoba. The initiative engages the problem by offering on the following:
Clinical treatment of mental illness with a focus on children aged 12 and under using evidence-based treatments that are proven to be most effective;
Outreach within the community with a primary focus on training teachers, caregivers and pediatricians to better identify and support children with mental illness;
Research into new treatments, new diagnostic indicators, brain development, and technology to help treat children as effectively and efficiently as possible;
Building a state-of-the-art and environmentally conscious treatment facility on the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street in the heart of Winnipeg.
WHAT KIDTHINK DOES
The estimated annual unserved demand for mental health services for children aged 5-12 years old in Manitoba ranges from 10,772 to 21,545 children. Immediately following the full activation of KIDTHINK will be a significant decrease in wait-times for members of this group. Soon after, support systems in the lives of children suffering from mental illness will be strengthened by KIDTHINK intervention and KIDTHINK knowledge procurement and distribution.
As KIDTHINK continues to operate and grow, the important and tangible positive changes in the contacted communities will broaden. Stakeholders will benefit from the new actor in this space by enjoying the ever-decreasing wait-time, the increased quality of treatment, the growing general trend of children being diagnosed and treated at younger ages and the spreading of knowledge of effective treatment to youth mental health support system components. KIDTHINK is projected to provide clinical services to 200 children in Manitoba in 2019, 600 children in 2020, and 1,200 children is 2021. Eventually, the KIDTHINK model will expand across Canada. It will aid, influence and inspire like-ventures to help create a modern, innovative, effective Canada that meets the needs of all youth in need of mental health treatment.