ACCESS Open Minds: Youth mental health – Ulukhaktok

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences, mental health, youth

Principal Investigator: Malla, Ashok (4)
Licence Number: 16470
Organization: McGill University, Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Licensed Year(s): 2019 2018 2017 2016
Issued: Jan 23, 2019

Objective(s): To transform mental health services for youth aged 11–25 in Ulukhaktok, and to evaluate the impact of these services.

Project Description: The objective of this project is to transform mental health services for youth aged 11–25 in Ulukhaktok, and to evaluate the impact of these services. The research team will do this by culturally adapting and applying evidence-based strategies, hiring and training local staff to take ownership of and provide leadership for the project, and maximizing the collaboration and engagement of youth, family members, community members, service providers from all sectors, and policy-makers. Among other objectives, the research team seeks to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health problems, and identify – as early as possible – youth in distress.

As stated, ACCESS is mainly about implementation of interventions to transform youth mental health services. However, it is also a research project, co-funded by Canada’s leading funder of health research. As such, the research team will invite all youth who make use of the ACCESS services to sign a consent form (or, in the case of minors, get parental consent and sign an assent form) and to complete a series of 7 brief self-administered scales/questionnaires. (For those who need help to complete the scales, this will be provided by site team members.) The scales are standard ones used in psychiatry internationally, and are: GAIN-SS, OPOC-Youth, ORS, SRS, K-10, SRH+MH, and YES-MH. All will be administered at the start of the research program, and some will be re-administered at 3 months, 6 months, etc. For family members/carers, 2 scales will be used: OPOC-Families and FES. As well, the service providers (e.g. nurse, community counsellor, social worker) will be asked to complete 4 scales at the beginning and at various other points during treatment: SOFAS, CUAD, CGI and C-SSRS. Please note: These scales will be administered using paper and pencil at first, but by the end of 2016, ACCESS expects that a tablet version will be available. At that time, responses will be entered directly into the tablet, uploaded to research staff the ACCESS Central at the Douglas Hospital for entry and analysis. Aggregated, anonymized results will then be compiled and shared with the local site team.

ACCESS Open Minds-Ulukhaktok is a community-based intervention research project with several key opportunities for community engagement and involvement of local people. The research team hope to engage as many people from as many sectors in the community in helping to plan the interventions, and all will be paid honoraria for their time and expertise. The team will then train a casual ACCESS Liaison Worker to work throughout the 4 years of the project, performing community outreach and educational roles to help de-stigmatize youth mental health issues and promote early help-seeking and effective follow-up and after-care. As well, youth peer workers and family peer workers will offer support to youth and families experiencing mental health difficulties.

Knowledge sharing is a major objective of the work, within Ulukhaktok itself, within the ACCESS Network sites, and more broadly with service providers and researchers in Canada and abroad. In past projects in the region, the research team have used radio shows, posters, community suppers, and regular emailed project updates to keep everyone in the community informed. For a wider audience in the NWT, the team will share updates with key staff and decision-makers in Inuvik and Yellowknife.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 23, 2019 to December 31, 2019.