Dr. Amy Cheung leading research to give doctors clinical tools that will
help them spot teen depression and prevent teen suicide
TORONTO, Jan. 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Bell Let's Talk and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre today announced a
new partnership in support of youth mental health - the $1 million Bell
Canada Chair in Adolescent Mood & Anxiety Disorders.
Dr. Amy Cheung, a prominent youth psychiatrist and researcher at
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, has been named the inaugural Chair,
leading research that will give doctors the necessary tools to better
assess a teen's mental health.
"Bell Let's Talk is pleased to build on Bell's longstanding partnership
with Sunnybrook in support of youth mental health. Dr. Cheung will lead
important research to improve clinical diagnosis and care for
vulnerable teens dealing with mental health issues," said Mary Deacon,
Chair of the Bell Let's Talk initiative.
One of only a handful of child psychiatry researchers in the country,
Dr. Cheung is well-positioned to lead the research supported by the
Bell Canada Chair. Ultimately, the insights gained will help educate
and empower family physicians to diagnose depression sooner, in the
hope of preventing self-harm.
"Research suggests that 30 per cent of teens in primary care waiting
rooms have symptoms of depression - but there is a gap between the
number of teens who suffer from a mental illness and the number who are
identified," says Dr. Cheung.
And, because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, a depressed
teenager may suffer in silence for a year or longer and only visit the
doctor when they feel physical symptoms. Even then, they may not be
diagnosed. If doctors can identify the depression earlier, they can
better help teenage patients and mitigate the risk of worsening illness
and even suicide.
Yet making mental health check-ups a standard part of primary health
care isn't as simple as it sounds. Family physicians may not know the
best questions to ask a teen. If they do suspect depression, they may
not know what services are most appropriate.
"Primary care clinicians and pediatricians often feel inadequately
trained and supported in managing adolescent depression. In the Greater
Toronto Area, there is a complex and disconnected web of mental health
services for youth. Even the experts can have a hard time navigating
it," says Dr. Cheung.
Improving access to health care for vulnerable teens
Dr. Cheung recently completed a pilot project studying a new clinical
tool to help primary care doctors perform mental health check-ups for
teens visiting them for any reason - ranging from headaches to rashes
to an upset stomach. With the support of Bell Let's Talk, she will be
evaluating this tool as part of a larger study to determine its value
in enabling physicians and pediatricians to identify depression
"Sunnybrook's young patients with mood disorders will benefit greatly
from Bell's visionary support and partnership. At Sunnybrook, we are
committed to providing the best care possible for youth with mood and
anxiety disorders, and our research in this area helps shape best
practices across the country," said Dr. Barry McLellan, President &
CEO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Bell Let's Talk Day is January 28
The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is a national charitable
program that promotes mental health across Canada with significant
funding for community care, research, and workplace best practices, and
fights the stigma around mental illness with high-profile events like
Bell Let's Talk Day. Set for January 28, 2014, the fourth annual Bell
Let's Talk Day invites Canadians to join the conversation and help end
the stigma around mental illness.
On Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell donates 5 cents for every text, mobile
call, and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers,
every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of the Bell
Let's Talk Day image. Bell's donations are made at no extra charge to
Bell Let's Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text
charges, if any, apply.
To date, Bell has already committed $62,043,289.30 to Canadian mental
health, based on its original $50 million commitment and participation
in Bell Let's Talk Day since 2011.
To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is inventing the future of health care
for the 1.2 million patients the hospital cares for each year through
the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff and volunteers. An
internationally recognized leader in research and education and a full
affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as
one of Canada's premier academic health sciences centres. Sunnybrook
specializes in caring for high-risk pregnancies, critically-ill
newborns and adults, offering specialized rehabilitation and treating
and preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological and
psychiatric disorders, orthopaedic and arthritic conditions and
traumatic injuries. The Hospital also has a unique and national leading
program for the care of Canada's war veterans. For more information
about how Sunnybrook is inventing the future of health care please
visit us online at www.sunnybrook.ca.
Youth psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
As Canada's leading site for youth mental health, Sunnybrook Health
Sciences Centre houses Canada's largest Youth Psychiatry Division and
oversees North America's largest mood and anxiety disorders clinic for
adolescents. Sunnybrook's Division of Youth Psychiatry offers
state-of-the-art clinical care while leading innovative research to
improve treatment options and health outcomes for young people with
complex cases of mood and anxiety disorders. Clinically, the division
serves young people between 14 and 18 years of age, both as
short/medium-term inpatients and/or as outpatients. As a provincial
resource for adolescent mental health, the division accepts referrals
from physicians and institutions located anywhere in the province.
Based at Sunnybrook's Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, Dr. Amy
Cheung is also an associate professor in the department of psychiatry
at the University of Toronto.
Youth mental health
Often invisible, mental illness is one of the most pervasive health
issues in the country with far-reaching consequences for every Canadian
- 1 in 5 people will experience a form of mental illness at some point
in their lives, and most will be reluctant to talk to a co-worker,
friend or family member about their struggle. Because of the stigma
around mental illness, just one third of those who struggle will seek
Image with caption: "Mary Deacon - Chair, Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative (CNW Group/Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140123_C4311_PHOTO_EN_35805.jpg
Image with caption: "Dr. Amy Cheung - Bell Canada Chair in Adolescent Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (CNW Group/Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140123_C4311_PHOTO_EN_35804.jpg
SOURCE: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
For further information:
Communications & Stakeholder Relations
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
(416) 480-6100, Ext. 3207
Bell Media Relations
1 855 785-1427