Making emerging adults with mental health needs a priority in Canada: Examining national, provincial and regional perspectives

Presentation First Author: 
Despina Papadopoulos

Introduction: Many emerging adults transitioning from CAMHAS to AMHAS disengage from service, reconnecting at a time of crisis that may or may not lead to sustained treatment. Available evidence indicates that youth who are engaged in child and youth mental health services, and who require continued services, are not well supported as they prepare to enter the adult mental health system. Emerging adults who disengage from mental health services are at a significantly higher risk of developing more enduring mental health problems, and no Canadian province is tracking youth across this transition. Policies often do not consider or include the perspective of youth, caregivers and families and few developmentally informed service models exist which address the needs of emerging adults.

Rationale: “Youth transitions” (16-25) was identified early in the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) mandate as a priority policy area because of the complex needs that young people face as they move from child and youth to adult mental health and/or addiction services, as they disengage from services entirely due to a lack of transition management between different sectors with provincial territories or as symptoms emerge after the age of 18 and they require access to adult sector services.

Approach: The MHCC has been working with a research team to produce a full-length report, Taking the Next Step Forward: Building a Responsive Mental Health and Addictions System (2015), detailing the current state of policies and practices in the area of youth transitioning from child and youth to adult mental health and addiction services and offers a framework for ensuring a continuum of services exists which have the capacity to respond to the specific needs of this age cohort and recommendations for forward motion.


• Examine current national and international research and resources on mental health services, policies, research and practices around youth to adult mental health services

• Examine findings and highlight recommendations aimed at enhancing effective policies and services for emerging adults

• Showcase a knowledge exchange approach used to disseminate literature and engage stakeholders across Canada

• Demonstrate/share information regarding the consensus building process to be implemented following report dissemination as a foundation to policy development

Implications: Using a participatory format with a particular emphasis on stakeholder engagement/knowledge exchange, this presentation will showcase national, provincial/territorial and regional proposed recommendations that encourage effective transitions for, and responses to emerging adults transitioning into adult mental health services.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
9th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
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