Six-Month Prevalence of Mental Disorders and Service Contacts among Children and Youth in Ontario: Evidence from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • OBJECTIVES: To present the 6-month prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of mental disorders and mental health-related service contacts in a sample of children (4 to 11 years) and youth (12 to 17 years) in Ontario. METHODS: The 2014 Ontario Child Health Study is a provincially representative survey of 6537 families with children aged 4 to 17 years in Ontario. DSM-IV-TR mental disorders were assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescents (MINI-KID) and included mood (major depressive episode), anxiety (generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, social phobia, specific phobia), and behaviour disorders (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, conduct disorder).The MINI-KID was administered independently to the primary caregiver and youth aged 12 to 17 years in the family's home. RESULTS: Past 6-month prevalence of any mental disorder ranged from 18.2% to 21.8% depending on age and informant. Behaviour disorders were the most common among children, and anxiety disorders were the most common among youth. Among children and youth with a parent-identified mental disorder, 25.6% of children and 33.7% of youth had contact with a mental health provider. However, 60% had contact with one or more of the providers or service settings assessed, most often through schools. CONCLUSIONS: Between 18% and 22% of children and youth in Ontario met criteria for a mental disorder but less than one-third had contact with a mental health provider. These findings provide support for strengthening prevention and early intervention efforts and enhancing service capacity to meet the mental health needs of children and youth in Ontario.

publication date

  • April 2019