More Canadian Youth Will Receive Better Mental Health Care
Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health (TRAM) is a unique approach that aims to catalyze fundamental change in Canadian youth mental health care in five years. TRAM is in the process of selecting one pan-Canadian network that unites patients, family representatives, policy makers, service providers and community organizations. All stakeholder groups within each network are committed to moving innovative practices out of the research environment and into common practice.
The result: in five years, new approaches proven in at least one setting will identify more youth (11-25 years old) as in need of services and, subsequently, will receive quality, timely and appropriate care.
Young people are most likely to experience mental health disorders than any other age group and yet they have the least access to mental health care. Seventy-five percent of mental health problems begin before the age of 25 years, 50% between 12 and 25 years. There are services designed for younger children and older adults but the gap in service is evident: the system is weakest where it should be strongest.
There is, therefore, a need for transformational change in addressing adolescent and youth mental health and wellbeing. The gap between research evidence and practice must be bridged if patients and families are to benefit from effective interventions across human service domains (e.g. health, education and social services). Many promising interventions that are found to be effective are only implemented within the academic settings in which they were developed and may often fail to translate into meaningful and scalable patient outcomes. Further, we need a new wave of therapeutic innovation and translation in both biological and psych-social therapies.
The coordinated involvement of all stakeholders -- patients/family representatives, policy makers, researchers, service providers, community organizations and others -- is critical to ensure that evidence-based findings are effectively implemented across jurisdictions, in new cultures of care and across a wide range of contexts to achieve success on a national scale.
TRAM is focused on having real world impact. In this context, research is a key tool and a means to an end, but not an end in itself. Research findings published in high-profile journals will be valued but they will not, in themselves, signal the success of the initiative.
- ongoing: network proposals are developed and refined in a cooperative, collective manner
- collaborative: TRAM bridges institutions and disciplines while placing patients squarely in the centre of the initiative
- metric-driven: the Network will define specific goals and determines how progress will be measured
- co-created: TRAM is a new kind of partnership between private and government funding to achieve a clear and important goal.