A Step Forward for Kids' Health: The Sandbox Project Champions Kids' Mental Health, Injury Prevention and Healthy Weights
TORONTO, Dec. 2 /CNW/ - Today, Canada's former Ambassador to the United States, the Honourable Michael Wilson along with Dr. Kellie Leitch, paediatric orthopaedic surgeon and founder of The Sandbox Project and Mr. Medhat Mahdy, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto joined together to highlight children's mental health and note specifically how The Sandbox Project can work with its partners such as the YMCA, to share knowledge on best practices to identify children with mental health issues early - so that the devastation of severe illness and suicide can be avoided.
The Sandbox Project will foster collaboration among leading Canadian experts, translating that knowledge through the development of interactive tools, social media and best practices by building partnerships between parents, academic leaders, industry, and governments to make Canada the healthiest place on earth for children and youth to grow up.
"The Sandbox Project is both important and timely. Dr. Kellie Leitch's groundbreaking research points out the need and the way Canada should be dealing with children's mental health. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential in identifying mental illness at an early stage which can avoid more serious problems later in life," said the Honourable Michael Wilson, Canada's former Ambassador to the United States.
The Sandbox Project's ambitious but achievable goal is to make measurable progress against international health indicators within the next five years. Specifically, The Sandbox Project is focused on improving health outcomes with respect to children's mental health, healthy weights, injury prevention, and the environment.
"Ranked 22 out of 29 in children's health in developed countries by the OECD, Canada needs to invest in the health and wellness of our children and youth in the same way that we invest in infrastructure, or science and technology," stated Dr. Kellie Leitch, founder of The Sandbox Project.
Bringing leaders from all sectors together, "playing" in the same sandbox, is critical to generating good policy for kids and parents. Ensuring the health and wellness of our children is more than simply the right thing to do; it is critically important for our long-term well-being as a country," said Dr. Leitch.
"The YMCA welcomes the expertise The Sandbox Project offers in the areas of children's mental health, injury prevention, the environment and healthy weights," said Medhat Mahdy, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto. "Partnerships such as this one help us to improve the overall health of our youth and deliver on our ongoing commitment to ensure our communities will be home to the healthiest children, teens and young adults."
Dr. Simon Davidson, Chair of the Child and Youth Advisory Committee for the Mental Health Commission of Canada commended The Sandbox Project's innovative structure. "This unique approach and the public private partnerships that The Sandbox Project is building are so different that there is very promising potential of yielding a favourable outcome for child and youth mental health, along with the other themes being addressed by the Project."
The Sandbox Project was created to respond to recent and startling research conducted by Dr. Kellie Leitch in her report "Reaching for the Top" on behalf of the Government of Canada in 2007/2008. The report can be found at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/alt_formats/hpb-dgps/pdf/child-enfant/2007-advisor-conseillere/advisor-conseillere-eng.pdf
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