Hamilton, ON - The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Child and Youth Mental Health Unit was officially opened on June 8, 2009 at McMaster Children's Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences.
The unit opened with eight beds, with plans to extend to 22 inpatient beds, as well as specialized day hospital and outreach services for children and youth up to age 18.
"Improving access to mental health and addictions services is a priority for this government," said David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "This new health unit will provide valuable health services for youth, closer to home."
Joining the Minister for this momentous occasion was Shane Murphy, a patient of the Child and Youth Mental Health Program. "Everyday is a challenge for me," said Shane, who has an extreme obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette Syndrome. "But with the support of the outpatient staff and my family, I now have a better understanding of my illness and am getting the treatment that I need. The new RBC Child and Youth Mental Health Unit will be able to assist more kids like me through 24-hour inpatient care."
Vince Isber, RBC's Regional Vice President for Greater Hamilton, says that the choice to be a part of this much-needed service was simple: "Supporting Hamilton Health Sciences' commitment to this special children's mental health unit was really an easy decision. RBC is committed to early intervention and to creating awareness about children's mental health in Canada. The new RBC Child and Youth Mental Health Unit will help shine a light on the stigma surrounding mental health and give youth in the Hamilton area the care and treatment they deserve."
Currently, one in five children are living with mental illness and of those children only one out of five receives the care they need. "There is a critical need for increased child and youth mental health services in Canada and this is a significant gap that we cannot afford to ignore," said Murray Martin, President & CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences. "I would like to thank Minister Caplan and the provincial government for investing in this much-needed program, as well as express our appreciation to RBC for their contribution. Today, as we open this new unit, I am confident that we are taking steps in the right direction to meet the needs of youth in our region and beyond."
The unit will feature educational learning areas, kitchens and dining facilities, and recreational areas to support the activities of daily living.
"Our focus will be to determine a diagnosis, stabilize the child, and develop a tailored treatment approach for them so that they can return home," explained Dr. Rhodri Evans, Medical Director for the Child and Youth Mental Health Program, McMaster Children's Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences.
The interdisciplinary care team includes psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, child and youth workers, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists, and occupational therapists. Children and youth living throughout the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant, and Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Networks can be referred to the program.
The Child and Youth Mental Health Program is affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, and the world-renowned Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster Children's Hospital. These centres hold a unique position internationally in child and adolescent development, wellness promotion and mental health care with many practices being adopted worldwide.