Living with COVID 19: Building pandemic informed approaches to support our child and youth mental health

Last modified by Ann Watkins on 2020/06/10 19:21

Physical distancing, social isolation, school closures, restrictions to mental health services and other supports, are impacting the mental health services we provide to support.  This pandemic presents unique challenges given its duration and the effects of the rapid pivot to working from home and virtual care.   In less than three months many of our historical service models, organizational cultures and traditional supports have undergone a transformation that would have been unthinkable as recently as January 2020.

Building resiliency will come from inter-professional dialogue and support, and sharing innovation and learnings. 

Join us for a Children's Healthcare Canada Mental Health Network panel presentation that will be future focused:

  1. What key learnings from the last three months should inform our future planning?

  2. What is the best balance of virtual and in-person care models across child and youth mental health?

  3. In a work from home and virtual care model,  how do we adapt to foster within our clinical teams, a supportive, connected culture? 

Join us on June 5, 11 am ET for a discussion on how we can plan for the future by leveraging the learnings and innovations of the past few months.   

Click here to download Aparna Kajenthira's presentation slides.

Click here to download Dr. Jennifer Russel and Sonja Sinclair's presentation slides.

Click here to download Maureen Brennan presentation slides. 


Christine Bartha.jpg Christina Bartha, MSW, RSW, is Chair of Children's Healthcare Canada Mental Health Practice Network) and the Executive Director of the Brain and Mental Health Program at SickKids (inclusive of Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Adolescent Medicine, the departments of Social Work and Psychology) and the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health. Chris has over 30 years of clinical and progressive leadership experience and holds several degrees including a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto.   For 20 years at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Chris played a leadership role in transformational initiatives to improve clinical care and services for mental health patients and their families across the lifespan. Christina joined SickKids in 2016 where she has focused on building integrated mental health services across the hospital and community sites.  Over her career, Chris has contributed to peer reviewed publications, co-authored patient and family information materials, and been a champion of student education and professional mentorship.  


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Sonja Sinclair has a Bachelor's in Child and Youth Care and a Master's Degree in Human Security. Currently Director of the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at BC Children's Hospital, Sonja previously worked within a variety of roles at Vancouver Coastal Health, including the development of programs related to supporting children and families affected by Parental Mental Illness, Substance Use and/or Domestic Violence issues. Sonja has experience working in the mental health and substance field with adolescents, individuals in conflict zones, individuals struggling with homelessness in the Downtown Eastside, and adults with mental health issues involved with the criminal justice system. She has worked with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Children and Family Development around Provincial initiatives to improve responses and supports for families affected by mental health and substance use issues with an emphasis on whole family supports, recognizing the intergenerational nature of these concerns.

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Maureen Brennan is the Clinical Director of the Mental Health and Addictions program at the IWK Health Centre. She has over 30 years’ experience in the field of mental health and addictions holding various clinical and administrative leadership roles across the healthcare system and in the community.Ms. Brennan holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology and Social Work from St.Thomas University and Dalhousie University. She first began her career in the non-profit sector having led various grass roots community programs and services for over 9 years. In 2002, she accepted a position at the IWK Mental Health and Addictions program and worked in a clinical capacity in the treatment of child and adolescent mental health and addictions. In 2006, Ms.Brennan took on several clinical leadership roles including clinician program leader and clinical manager of various services throughout the mental health and addictions program. In 2016,she accepted the position of Clinical Director, IWK Mental Health and Addictions program.

IMG_6019.JPG Dr. Jennifer Russel is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at BC Children's Hospital and the Clinical Director of the Compass Program.  She was the previous Medical Director of the Adolescent Psychiatry Unit at BCCH.  Dr. Russel has extensive experience treating youth with severe mental illness, including psychotic disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, difficulties with affect dysregulation, and neurodevelopmental disorders.  She has an expertise in Trauma Informed Practice, Compassion Fatigue, Burnout and Vicarious Trauma. 

Aparna K - 2018.jpgAparna Kajenthira, MSW, RSW, is the Manager of Intensive Services for Youth at SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health. Aparna holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the Ivey School of Business at Western University and a Master’s of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. With over 12 years of experience in community health, mental health and philanthropic settings, Aparna has a passion for advocating and supporting youth to find success in their personal and professional journeys. Aparna works from an anti-oppression framework and aims to surface and address issues of equity, marginalization and power in all of her roles.

Created by Paula Robeson on 2020/05/22 21:14