Characterizing youth seeking mental health services in Hamilton, Canada: Are we attracting youth at early stages?

Poster A35, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Juliana Tobon1,2, Robert Zipursky1,2, Lisa Jeffs1, Peter Bieling1,2; 1St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, 2McMaster University

Worldwide, there is a movement to prioritize early intervention (EI) mental health for youth, but data on the service needs, use, and outcomes for youth accessing these services are limited, and urgently needed. Purpose: The aim of this study is to describe the sample of transition-aged youth (ages 17-25) seeking services at the new and innovative Youth Wellness Centre at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton in Canada. Methods: Youth complete brief mental health and substance use (GAIN-SS), and distress (K-10) screeners at first contact, which comprises the minimal dataset. A clinical staging approach, which involves distinguishing initial and milder forms of illness (1a and 1b) from later forms (2-4), is applied through a consensus meeting after an intake assessment as per the Transitions Study in Australia and the criteria provided by Hickie et al. Youth staged 1b+ undergo further diagnostic assessment to differentiate later stages. Preliminary Results: 122 youth (31%) have been staged; 20% were assigned to Stage 1a; Of the remaining 80%, 48% were Stage 1b; 8% Stage 2, 1% Stage 3, and 43% need to undergo further assessment. A one-way ANOVA indicated no significant difference in distress for the staging groups [F(2,87)=2.05,p=.134], though a trend suggests that youth in higher stages are presenting with higher distress. A significant relationship emerged between higher social and occupational functioning (SOFAS) and lower clinical stage, χ2(2, n=100)=14.38, p<.001. Conclusion: Clinical stages of youth presenting at our new centre are similar to those in Australia, suggesting that we are attracting youth at early stages.

Topic Area: Diagnosis and Phenomenology

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