Adolescent Suicide Prompts Look at Mental Health System: Ontario, Canada

Falling deeper into a dark place

The increasing number of adolescents seeking care for mental health issues has skyrocketed, but stagnant funding is putting a strain on the system.

Brier Dodge  MY 30, 2012

Ottowa, Canada

It would be a heartbreaking experience for any mother.

Kathy Brunsdon sat by the phone for a week at her Stittsville home, making call after call, concerned about her 15-year-old daughter Hannah.

Daron Richardson, a 14-year-old girl who lived nearby, had recently died of suicide.

…It’s a cause and effect that has spiraled out of control, leading youth and parents alike through traumatizing months on a waitlist before they can get treatment.

Comparing CHEO’s increase in demand for psychiatric services to other hospitals is hard – children’s hospitals vary significant in catchment area and size, and the detailed mental health statistics only began to be released in 2011.

…Campaigns like Do it For Daron – an awareness campaign for recognizing mental illness and reducing stigma – has helped identify many more youth who can benefit from help.

…“You’re told that it will be nine months (on the waitlist),” said Kathy. “And OK, but someone just died. And supposedly the parents didn’t know at all, there were no cues. …”

…The Youth Services Bureau (YSB) has been one of the partners to step up to try and fill the gap.

A mental health strategy for Canada titled Changing Directions, Changing Lives was recently released, which highlights improving access to the right combination of services and treatments, and an increase in funding to fix the current problem.

CHEO recommends using as a resource for parents or youth looking for information. The YSB crisis line is available for youth or parents 24-hours a day at 1-877-377-7775 or by email at

Retrieved 06/05.12. Full story:–falling-deeper-into-a-dark-place

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