Mental Health Strategy

Our Mental Health strategy is a roadmap that defines SickKids’ role and path forward in the dynamic and complex area of mental health care delivery. Aligned with our SickKids 2025 Strategic Plan, our Mental Health strategy will help us achieve unprecedented outcomes in child and youth mental health through collaborations, innovations and partnerships.

In paediatrics, the need for innovation in mental health care is compelling; one in five children have a mental health disorder, only one in six of those are able to access the mental health care they need, and up to 40 per cent of children with a concurrent physical condition also have a mental health challenge. Mental health challenges among children and youth are common, and lead to significant delays in the attainment of important adult milestones such as independent living, higher education and full-time employment. Mental health outcomes are heavily informed and impacted by psycho-social conditions including social determinants of health, health equity, inclusion and racism, inclusive of institutional racism.

Our mental health strategic map

View a PDF of the Mental Health strategy map

Our strategic priorities

Transform mental health care delivery

  • Integrate mental, physical and behavioral health care delivery
  • Improve access to mental health services across the continuum of care, from the community to the hospital
  • Build integrated services and seamless transitions among providers, sites, and systems
  • Support patients, families and providers with digital tools and capitalize on evolving technologies to optimize virtual care and communication between care teams and families

Accelerate mental health research

  • Improve the integration of mental health research and care
  • Lead precision child and youth mental health research and the successful translation of neuroscience discovery from the bench to clinical implementation at the bedside and to the community
  • Support the evolution of clinician researchers
  • Collaborate across disciplines and orientations across the mental health spectrum to inform practice, policy, and research
  • Develop and evaluate a measurement-based care framework to inform treatment trajectories, prioritizing functional outcomes and connecting physical and mental health

Prioritize child, youth and family needs in all that we do

  • Co-design research, education, and care by engaging a diversity of children, youth, and families in the development of models, services and projects
  • Build pathways for caregivers and siblings to access supports and interventions through functional partnerships with academic health centres and community adult mental health providers
  • Promote equity, diversity and  inclusion in the design of our mental health services, research and educational activities

Achieve mental health literacy for all

  • Develop and curate mental health literacy tools that will enable all SickKids staff to apply a mental health lens to patient and client care
  • Build mental health into the curriculum of all health professionals, ensuring it is informed by the multiple factors impacting mental health outcomes
  • Leverage technology to foster continuous learning and education about mental health
  • Tailor mental health information to patient and family needs; leveraging virtual tools and resources and partnerships with community mental health agencies

Champion evolution of the mental health system

  • Synthesize and disseminate best practices for screening, treatment and navigation
  • Build capacity for mental health prevention and health promotion to better support the populations we serve
  • Advocate for equity and action on the social determinants of health and systemic racism to improve access to mental health care
  • Purposefully partner and lead to drive system transformation; focusing on priority initiatives that address access and quality of care