Youth mental health focus of Burlington’s Joseph Brant Hospital during Bullying Awareness Week

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Published November 18, 2021 at 1:36 pm

The third Sunday in November is the annual start of Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in Ontario, which this year runs Nov. 21 to 27.

Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) in Burlington is using the week to highlight the mental health needs of those under the age of 18 in the community.

Bullying significantly impacts the mental health of children and adolescent victims. Whether it’s physical, verbal, social or cyberbullying, the impacts can span an array of significant physical, social, emotional, academic and mental health issues.

Ontario’s Ministry of Education and training website notes that more than one in five Ontario students (21 per cent) reported being bullied at school. According to The Public Health Agency of Canada between four and 12 per cent of boys and girls in Grades 6 to 10 report having been bullied once a week or more.

JBH has a long history of working in partnership across the community to build and grow collaborative and successful Mental Health and Addictions (MHA) programs and services for children and youth.

Since the start of the pandemic, the need for these programs and services has never been greater. Recently, JBH welcomed its new Child and Adolescent Lead Psychiatrist, Dr. Monidipa Ravi, to support the growing demand being seen in the region.

Our current healthcare system does not always meet the needs of children and adolescents when it comes to the treatment of mental illness,” said Ravi.

For example, there are currently no child or adolescent inpatient mental health beds at JBH and those who require this level of support must go outside of the community.”

Currently, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric (CAP) Program at JBH is the primary access point for the most vulnerable youth in the region, with a variety of behavioural, mood, anxiety, substance abuse, psychosis and developmental disorders.

It provides early intervention and supports a faster integration back to home and school, and in resuming normal routines and positive experiences that will further enhance their resiliency and recovery.

According to JBJ, access to high quality MHA services is one of the biggest challenges the community faces today, so much so, that the Burlington Ontario Health Team has identified mental health and addictions support as its priority focus. JBH is looking to expand its inpatient capacity to support children and adolescents in need of MHA supports.

JBH’s long-term goal is to lead the transformative change needed in the region to build a stronger model of MHA care that provides more services to more patients when they need it and where they need it.

“Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week is a tremendous way to shed light on the mental health needs for children and adolescents in our community,” said Eric Vandewall, JBH’s president and CEO.

“At JBH, we see first-hand the meaningful impact MHA services have on those receiving treatment. We want everyone who is seeking help to have access to the care they need in a safe environment that’s close to home.”

For more information, visit the hospital website.

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