Exploring the Mental health and Addictions effects, Service impacts, and Care needs of children, youth, and families during the COVID‑19 pandemic: The COVID‑19 MASC study

Levitt, Anthony J | $146,555

Ontario Sunnybrook Research Institute 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

The COVID‑19 pandemic has drastically altered Canadians’ daily lives and has had sweeping effects on mental health and/or addictions (MHA) care needs. With changes to the availability, delivery format, and accessibility of MHA services as a result of the pandemic, families of youth in need of MHA care may be experiencing considerable difficulties finding and connecting with appropriate supports. This project will explore the MHA needs of Ontario youth and families during the COVID‑19 pandemic. A survey of 5000 Ontarians will be conducted in October, 2021. This survey is a third round of two prior surveys conducted in July, 2020, and February, 2021. The survey will identify and measure the MHA concerns, service needs and preferences, and experiences in the pandemic in relation to MHA concerns and demographics, for youth and caregivers. Survey findings from Round 3 will be explored in relation to findings from Rounds 1 and 2, to examine how youth and families’ MHA needs and service preferences have evolved over the course of the pandemic. These findings will also be combined with an existing dataset of approximately 180 in-depth, one-on-one qualitative interviews, conducted with caregivers of youth with MHA concerns over the course of the pandemic. These interviews focused on caregivers’ and their youth’s MHA concerns, effects of the pandemic on their and their youth’s MHA concerns, as well as their experiences of finding and accessing MHA care during the pandemic. This work will provide crucial information regarding the impacts of changes in access services to youth and families’ existing MHA service preferences and needs. The findings will provide important information to design services and systems that transform MHA care across Ontario and Canada in response to the pandemic and in the future.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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