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September 25, 2018  
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Message from Dr. Peter Szatmari


Sharing knowledge as broadly as possible is essential to the mission
of the Cundill Centre for Child
and Youth Depression
at CAMH. Our goal is to discover and develop the best treatments for child and youth depression and ensure they get to the young people who need them – whether here in Toronto, across Canada or around the world. 


On June 4, we held our second Cundill conference. Following in the footsteps of 2016’s Transforming Practice and Policy Through Science, this year’s New Directions for Adolescents and Young Adults with Depression presented findings on Cundill Centre projects, but also welcomed child and youth depression experts from the U.S. and U.K. to share findings in epidemiology and brief psychosocial interventions. Read on to learn more about the conference and other ways we are sharing knowledge.


Cundill Conference

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New Directions for Adolescents and Young Adults with Depression


Young people with depression are not alone.

That was the message in early June when 150 psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, educators, policy makers and others in child and youth depression gathered in downtown Toronto for New Directions for Adolescents and Young Adults with Depression, a #CundillatCAMH Conference.

It’s an important message, because it demonstrates that young people with depression have a strong team behind them. There’s now a significant interest in developing new treatments, while the field has seen few introduced in the past 40 years. There’s commitment to developing evidence-based care plans that ensure young people get the right care at the right time – every time. There’s a global team of experts that collaborates and comes together to learn from one another.

Young people played an important role in delivering the message through very personal and moving spoken-word poetry about their own experiences with mental illness. Through youth involvement, conference-goers gained a greater understanding of the work still ahead.

If you weren’t able to make the New Directions for Adolescents and Young Adults with Depression conference, not to worry – we’ve captured the highlights in this video. You can also download conference presentations.

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Photo: Prof. Ian Goodyer, chair of the Cundill Centre’s International Advisory Board, chats with youth poet Ammarah Syed during a break. 

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Photo: Erica Bota from ThinkLink Graphics visually captures the Cundill Conference throughout the day. Contact us for electronic copies of the artwork.

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Shaping the future of child and youth depression

In the days leading up to the conference, Director Dr. Peter Szatmari had a casual chat about the promising future of advances in the treatment of child and youth depression – and how the Cundill Centre is helping us get there.

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Harvey Stancer Research Day


The Cundill Centre shared recent findings at the 44th annual Harvey Stancer Research Day, held by the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry in mid-June.


“Through the Depression Early Warning study, we’re using activity-tracking technology to better understand depression in young people in hopes of ultimately predicting relapse,” explained Lydia Sequeira, a post-doctoral student working on the DEW project.


There were also poster presentations on the Cundill Centre’s Suicide Prevention study and the “Nash-wo-Numa Study Protocol: Factors that impact linear growth and depression in children 9-15 years of age living in Matiari, Pakistan,” presented by Post-doc Fellow Susan Campisi.

Dr. Darren Courtney presented findings from CARIBOU (Care for Adolescents who Receive Information ‘Bout Outcomes), a project aimed at determining whether an Integrated Care Pathway will demonstrate greater improvement in depressive symptoms and functioning than treatment as usual. Post-doc Fellow Kamna Mehra presented on “Services for Youth with Depression across Ontario: A Multi-Sectoral Survey of Program Managers.”


The Cundill Centre was there to learn, too. Dr. Peter Szatmari took time to chat with CAMH’s Dr. June Lam to gain a clearer understanding of what complexity in mental health means.


“If we can all get together to talk about complexity in the mental health care system, perhaps we can design programs that better address the needs of our patients,” Dr. Lam says.


Cundill Centre Speaker Series

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Photo: Dr. Kathy Georgiades presents at the Cundill Centre

The second talk of the Cundill Centre Speaker Series was held in May. Dr. Georgiades presented “Prevalence and Correlates of Child and Youth Mental Disorder and Service Utilization in Ontario.” Here are three take-away points:

  1. The prevalence of child and youth mental disorder is high in Ontario.
  2. Child and youth mental health treatment gaps are large and disproportionately affect certain demographic groups.
  3. Schools represent the most common setting from which children and youth receive services for mental health concerns.

Dr. Georgiades holds the David R. (Dan) Offord Chair in Child Studies and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University and the Offord Centre for Child Studies.


More Knowledge Sharing


Frayme Global Network

The Cundill Centre is part of Frayme, a network of service providers, clinicians, youth, families, policy makers, researchers and others who come together in the interest of improving the delivery of youth mental health and substance use services. Their mission? System transformation in youth mental health and substance use services on a global scale. Read more about Frayme’s featured projects, including the Cundill Centre’s own CARIBOU project.


Clinical Practice Guidelines

Evidence-based practice was a focus of the Cundill Conference. Dr. Darren Courtney presented findings from the Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) Project, which found that the best, most trustworthy, evidence-based guideline for the management of depression in children and youth is Depression in children and young people: Identification and management, developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom. You can read the research paper here. Dr. Courtney also facilitated a workshop with Emma McCann, Youth Engagement Facilitator, about how to contextualize CPGs for different settings. Both presentations can be found on our website.

The Cundill Centre is working with other settings to determine how CPGs can be implemented. We’ve developed a decision aid (pictured below) that is based on the NICE guidelines and that can be modified appropriately for different environments. Contact us if you’re interested in implementing the guidelines in your setting, or if you’d like a PDF copy of the decision aid.

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Page 1 of our 2-page decision aid for the treatment of child and youth depression. Contact us for a PDF copy.


Cundill Resources Developed by Youth, for Youth

We have partnered with Youth Engagement Facilitators at the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health to develop resources for youth. This includes a list of mobile apps that youth may find helpful. Other materials are described below. Contact us for PDF copies.


Mood Foundations

Mood Foundations is a four-page package that includes a fact sheet
on depression, as well as tips on sleep, exercise and healthy eating. 
It asks youth to fill in tables with numbers to indicate things they already do, things they think they could easily change, things that are changeable but take more time and effort, and things that are not  changeable to them.


CBT Worksheets

This six-page package provides templates on cognitive restructuring, problem solving and collaborative problem solving. Each worksheet prompts youth to: 1) identify the situation, emotion and need; 2) brainstorm different ways of looking at the situation; and 3) evaluate the options.


Suicide Prevention

Cundill Scholar Dr. Daphne Korczak presented twice in June, first at the Canadian Paediatric Society’s 95th Annual Conference in Quebec City, where she spoke about suicide risk among children and adolescents  – and second at the Cundill Conference, where she co-facilitated a workshop with social worker Kate Stadelman. The workshop introduced participants to SAFETY (Self-Assessment, Family Engagement and Treatment for Suicidal Youth), a novel model for the treatment of acute suicidality among adolescents. View the presentation here and learn more about Dr. Korczak in the “Meet Our Team” section below!


Cundill Work Making Fundamental Contributions

A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry highlighted one of the Cundill Centre’s research papers, From "P" to "DP": Examining Symptom-Level Bifactor Models of Psychopathology in Clinically Referred Children and Adolescents, for its important contribution to advancing the literature on psychopathology classification.


As Cundill Scholar and lead author Dr. J.D. Haltigan explains, “the significance of this work is that it demonstrates that basically all common child/adolescent mental illnesses—for example, depression, anxiety, conduct disturbance—are related to one another, and these shared associations may be thought of as broad mental illness, or a 'general psychopathology' spectrum."


"That is, it’s really about what unites all these various behavioural problem symptoms and disorders that may be most important to understanding child/adolescent psychopathology and a) what factors might predict elevated levels on this general psychopathology spectrum and b) how to best screen/intervene with youth who may have more severe psychopathology disturbance.”


Meet Our Team


Dr. Priya Watson,
Cundill Scholar

Dr. Watson is a Clinician Scientist at CAMH and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Full bio


What excites you about the field of child and youth depression?
What excites me are the “what next” questions that are being asked about child and youth depression. We have effective, evidence-based treatments, but they don’t work for everyone. We are now asking “what's next” for those children and youth who do not benefit from these treatments, or who don’t engage in these treatments in the first place. We are trying to understand how and why certain treatments for children and youth don’t work by better understanding what “treatment resistance” means and by identifying the barriers and unintended negative consequences of treatment. This improved understanding of those children and youth whose depression does not improve with treatment will help us refine and innovate our interventions and holds promise for further evolving the field of child and youth depression.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?
I love the expressive arts. I’ve been doing creative writing and modern dance for many years.


Dr. Daphne Korczak, Cundill Scholar

Dr. Korczak is Director of the Children’s Integrated Mood and Body (CLIMB) Depression Program, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, and a clinician-researcher at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Full Bio


What excites you about the field of child and youth depression?
Depression is an illness that touches all aspects of a child's life. It can affect their friendships, school work, performance in extra-curricular activities, sleep, appetite, their relationships at home and their physical health. Worst of all, depression affects how children feel about themselves and their futures. The most exciting part of the field of child and youth depression is the opportunity it presents to meaningfully impact the health and the lives of children and families in a positive way.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?
I am a big baseball fan!


Thanks for reading! We look forward to updating you soon.

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