In-School mental health initiative for young children

Project Details

  • Departments/Divisions: Pediatrics
  • Physician Leads: Dr. Adriana Condello, Pediatrics
  • Budget: $9,475.00

About the Project

Dr. Adriana Condello identified a care-gap for children and youth with acute mental health needs and who also had no family doctor in the community. Dr. Condello and her colleagues, Dr. Claudia Zuin and Dr. Heather Robertson, brought together a group of pediatricians, pediatric psychiatrists, early intervention program team members, family physicians and nurse practitioners to collaborate. This was made possible by funding from the South Island Medical Staff Association. Dr. Condello and her team agreed that early identification and intervention using a shared care approach could reduce long-term health care costs in caring for this population.

Multiple engagement sessions with School District 61 (Victoria) were held to identify future methods of collaboration. It was agreed that a clinic located within a middle school located close to an elementary school would be an ideal location for this shared work. Children at risk of behavioural, developmental or mental health issues identified by school staff would be forwarded for further evaluation to the clinic with guardians’ consent. A team-based approach with wrap around services that included a family physician/nurse practitioner, family liaison/system navigator, social worker, school staff liaison, school based allied therapists, pediatricians and consulting child psychiatrist would be required to address the health and educational needs of the identified children. This pilot project has found a home at Shoreline Middle School, which has undergone some renovations.

Deborah Chaplain, Island Health’s Director of Child, Youth, and Family Health, has been involved in the project, share progress and information with Island Health, and provides insights towards supporting the next steps for the clinic’s development.

The collaboration between physicians, School District 61 and Island Health continues. Project leaders are optimistic about the potential impact of this clinic being growing beyond its pilot project beginning.

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