This video was developed thanks to funding from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.
A pproximately 70% of mental illnesses can be diagnosed before age 25, which makes adolescence a critical time for mental health promotion and the prevention, early identification, and effective treatment of mental disorders. Given how many hours most Canadian teenagers spend in school each week, schools are an ideal location for recognizing and addressing the mental health needs of youth. More young people can be reached through schools than in any other method of service delivery.
At present, however, schools and healthcare exist as separate systems, making it difficult to coordinate needed enhancements in mental health literacy and better access to effective care for young people. The Pathway through Care model proposes a simple innovative method for integrating education and healthcare opportunities that would result in youth, teachers, families, student services providers, primary care providers, and even mental health professionals becoming more mental health literate while concurrently establishing efficient access to effective mental health care.
Many teenagers with mental health care needs are falling through the cracks of existing systems; waiting too long for treatment, if they receive treatment at all. It is essential that we find new ways of identifying these youth and helping them rapidly access effective treatment early, before their problems become more severe. The Pathway through Care model presents an evidence-based method for accomplishing this goal, by helping increase the mental health literacy and help-seeking ability of teenagers and the people outside of their families that they see most often, their teachers, as well as by linking health care services to schools, because after all, that is where young people are.