November 25 2016

An urgent health, social and economic challenge is responding to the risks and impacts of mental and substance use disorders for young people. The result has been to stimulate innovative system reforms internationally to provide better care for the unique mental health needs of young people. Similar innovative approaches are necessary in youth mental health research if we are to continue to improve services and treatments. As a consequence, innovation and research in youth mental health (YMH) is becoming a priority focus in a number of countries worldwide. A coordinated research agenda could more rapidly advance our understanding of the aetiology and development of mental illnesses and support interventions and service models that ultimately transform the lives of young people and their families, enhance communities and strengthen economies.

Key researchers from Canada, the Unites States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands have joined forces to form an International Youth Mental Health Research Network (IYMHRN). It is being supported by the Graham Boeckh Foundation and is currently managed by Orygen Australia.

The group will generate a roadmap for research that addresses current challenges, responds to neglected areas and maximizes the potential for major impact and growth in this area. The inaugural meeting of the IYMHRN was held in early September in London, UK, where 14 experts from five countries, including GBF, came to a consensus of the priority areas in global YMH research.  Particular focus is on integration across research and clinical systems, integration across research disciplines, optimization of evidence-based solutions and development of health services research.

In parallel, GBF supports the development of a Network of Centres of Excellence for an International Knowledge Translation Platform (NCE-IKTP) in YMH. The initiative responds to a call from the Canadian government and offers a unique opportunity for GBF to consolidate many of its efforts to advance the implementation of integrated youth services. It aims to support international and pan-Canadian collaboration to accelerate knowledge translation in areas of mutual strategic interest and positions Canadian YMH researchers to play a leading role in the IYMHRN.