Update: December 2021
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.)
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.