Updated: Mar 24



When it opens this fall, the Centre for Child & Adolescent Mental Health will be unlike any other in Canada, providing three crucial new services: a dedicated walk-in clinic, an intensive treatment program, and Calgary’s first mental health day hospital – all supporting youth and families in our community.


You helped us build it, now you can help us name it!


Alberta Health Services has launched a short survey to hear suggestions from the community that made this Centre possible by funding its construction.


It takes less than 10 minutes to share your thoughts and there will be opportunities to join one of two focus groups taking place this month. The survey closes January 27.


Add your voice to the conversation today.

Construction continues with shoring and concrete work

Crews are busy working as construction on the new Centre for Child & Adolescent Mental Health continues. A large portion of the hill on site has been excavated to make room for the Centre, shoring walls have been installed, and crews have finished pouring concrete slabs on the parkade level, main and second floors. It is anticipated that the third level will be poured before the New Year. Construction completion is currently expected to occur next summer, with the first patients to be seen at the Centre in late fall of 2022.


Beyond the build

As we eagerly await the start of its three new mental health services for young people, we know the new Centre is one piece of a much larger puzzle. Your generous support is helping to ensure critical new initiatives can begin in advance of the Centre opening. Thanks to you, we can further advance care and reduce the suffering of families in our community.


(Highlighted programs currently need community investment.)

RESEARCH IN ACTION

COMMUNITY

ENHANCEMENTS IN CARE

CanREACH

Peer Support

Brain Stimulation

Mental Health Literacy in Schools

I AM SAFE – Suicide Intervention

e-Mental Health

Medical/Psychiatric Unit

Functional Family Therapy

Meeting the needs of emerging adults

The urgent need for mental health services to help youth and young adults in Canada has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Experts say the prevalence of addiction and mental health problems rises progressively as teens transition to adulthood. Often young people don’t know where to turn for help since they don’t see themselves fitting in either pediatric or adult settings. Forty-five percent of young people stop accessing care during this period. Left untreated, mental illness during this pivotal phase of life can lead to chronic mental and physical health issues, job insecurity, housing and food insecurity, consequences involving the justice system, shortened lifespan, long-term suffering for those affected and their families and a negative impact on society as a whole.

Recognizing the need to address the unique developmental needs of 16 to 24-year-olds, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, in partnership with Alberta Health Services and the University of Calgary, is supporting one of the most significant changes our mental health system has seen in its history.


This initiative will result in a complete redesign of how the system responds to the needs of Emerging Adults.

In the immediate term, additional family counsellors and nursing staff have been recruited to respond to COVID-related increases in demand, with the goal to reduce the Emerging Adult Treatment Centre waitlist from 12 months to 3 months.

In addition, a “unified protocol” is now being offered to everyone seeking care regardless of an official diagnosis. This brief cognitive behavioural intervention enables treatment to begin as soon as possible and has proven to be beneficial to patients suffering from anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The team has also introduced single-session, pop-in therapy as a way to address immediate needs in a timely, more accessible way for this specific population.


Moving forward, with input from families, a team of clinicians and researchers will research, re-examine and redesign services and treatments to specifically meet the needs of 16- to 24-year-olds. The team will lead a complete cultural shift around how the system responds to these young people and, in doing so, create a critical bridge between the pediatric and adult care models. Their goals are to build clinical capacity and expertise across the care continuum, contribute to crucial mental health research for emerging adults, and shorten the time it takes to turn innovative ideas into positive impacts on health outcomes.


Ultimately, this will include the creation of a new purpose-driven centre – a blend of virtual and physical space – that will provide nation-leading research-intensive care tailored for emerging adults and their families.


If you would like to support this revolutionary change to care for young adults in our community, make a donation today. If you would like more information, please email us at philanthropy@achf.com

Aimee Cooper had no idea that extreme stress could cause seizures.


She learned this terrible fact last fall after her 11-year-old daughter, Mady, was found unconscious on the school playground and had to be rushed to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.


“We were scared and confused,” says Aimee. “Nothing like this had ever happened before and then suddenly Mady was seizing four times a day, sometimes for as long as an hour.”


After extensive testing, doctors determined that Mady was suffering from psychogenic seizures and needed treatment from mental health specialists in hospital. After two admissions, Aimee and her husband, Trent, were grateful and eager to bring Mady home. Yet they worried about being able to care for their daughter on their own.


Thankfully, that’s when they were referred to the Acute at Home program.


This innovative community-funded outreach service enables children in mental health crisis to receive care in the comfort of their own homes from specially trained therapists, social workers and nurses. They deliver intensive mental health care for children and teens — in person, by video or phone — using treatments tailored to their needs. It was exactly the bridge they needed. Aimee says they looked forward to their weekly Zoom meetings. They also connected with counsellors by phone and text in between.


The Acute at Home team helped them better understand Mady’s illness, settled their fears, gave them practical tools and advice on how to manage difficult situations, and worked hard to support Mady — both at home and at school.


“During the pandemic, Acute at Home has become one of the most active programs in our service,” says Carol Coventry, manager with the Child and Adolescent Addiction, Mental Health and Psychiatry Program.

“It has been absolutely vital to kids and families whose mental health has worsened with school and recreational disruptions, separation from loved ones and concerns about the virus itself.” - Carol Coventry, Manager, Child and Adolescent Addiction, Mental Health and Psychiatry Program

Today, Aimee is happy to say that Mady has far more good days than bad and she’s back to doing things kids her age should be enjoying — like dance, swimming and climbing trees.


“Acute at Home was our lifeline,” says Aimee. “We are so grateful to the generous people who’ve made the program possible. I don’t know how we would have survived without it. I feel in my heart, having this support has kept our daughter from having to go back to the hospital many times.”


NEWS & EVENTS