Nova Scotians join together in national mental health initiative

Nova Scotians join together in national mental health initiative

Group pursues more equitable and accessible digital mental health and substance use services for youth

Read the Summary Publication: Inclusive Digital Mental Health for Youth

Local and national researchers and innovators are meeting today in Halifax to share perspectives on how to better leverage technology to support inclusive and accessible child and youth mental health and substance use services in Canada.

The event, held at Dalhousie University, is part of the Pan-Canadian Digital, Inclusive, Virtual, and Equitable Research Training in Mental Health Platform (DIVERT Mental Health) series, which aims to inspire and engage leaders in the field. This platform, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, is all about training on anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion & how technology can improve youth mental health service development and research.

“Addressing the mental well-being of our youngest generation is not just a priority but an urgent necessity, and the focus on inclusivity, diversity, and equity in the digital spaces youth access mental health supports is pivotal in ensuring that all children receive the care they require,” said Maureen Brennan, Director of IWK of Mental Health and Addictions Program.

What makes this event truly stand out is its commitment to bringing together a diverse group of voices. The 40 participants include policy and health system decision-makers, thought leaders, youth, caregivers, emerging researchers, mental health clinicians, computer science researchers, trainees, and equity advocates. This diversity is essential for addressing the unique needs of the Maritimes and ensuring a comprehensive approach to digital mental health innovation. The significance of this event lies in its potential to bridge gaps, challenge existing norms, and showcase local innovation and research.

“By uniting local capacity with cutting-edge research, this event is paving the way for more opportunities to learn about our partners in mental health and draw on each other as a resource. By networking together, diverse voices can harness their collective strength to make a significant impact on the Pan-Canadian mental health landscape,” said Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell, Nominated Principal Investigator for DIVERT Mental Health.

A key focus of this event is linking policy and practice issues surrounding digital mental health in Canada. Through open dialogue, participants will shed light on the existing hurdles and collectively work towards recommendations for action.

“The inclusion of lived experience is not just a matter of empathy; it’s an imperative in moving research into practice. Only by listening to the voices of those who have navigated the complexities of mental health and substance use can we hope to bridge the divide between innovative research and its real-world application,” said Marina Hamilton, Executive Director, Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit.

The insights and recommendations gathered from this gathering of experts, innovators, and diverse voices will be compiled into a summary report. This report will be a starting point to encapsulate the shared vision for inclusive and equitable digital mental health care and lay the foundation for tangible action steps in the future.

Partners: This event was supported by the

IWK Mental Health and Addictions Program (IWK MHA)

Maritime Strategy for Patient Oriented Research Unit (MSSU)

DIVERT Mental Health

Nova Scotians join together in national mental health initiative