If you have trouble viewing this e-mail, you can view it in your browser
Cundill Centre for Child and Youth Depression Logo
  Emailicon   Forward email icon   CAMH Facebook link   link to the Cundill Centre on Twitter  
February 22, 2019

Message from Dr. Peter Szatmari


Around the world, 350 million people are living with depression and — for 70 per cent of them — the illness starts in adolescence. With statistics so staggering, it’s hard to imagine that people once thought young people didn’t get depression. (Some still think that – read more about this and other mental illness myths here.)


Depression can have life-long negative impacts on quality of life when it strikes young people. That’s why the Cundill Centre for Child and Youth Depression is committed to identifying depression earlier so treatment can start sooner. Through the Depression Early Warning study, for example, Cundill Scholars hope wearable technology will enable them to help young people start recovery sooner. And we’ve developed – and are sharing – our decision aid to help young people get back on track. We’re pleased to share these Cundill Centre highlights – and more – in this newsletter. Tweet with us, #CundillatCAMH.

Dr. Peter Szatmari
Director, Cundill Centre 


Cundill International Advisory Board Visits


Left to right: Dr. Cristina de Carvalho Eriksson, Dr. Martin Offringa, Prof. Ian Goodyer, Dr. Jean Séguin


Members of the Cundill Centre’s International Advisory Board met with Cundill Scholars at CAMH recently to discuss Cundill Projects and provide guidance. Board members are international experts in child and youth depression, international business leaders and community leaders.


Left to right: David Feather, Dr. Cristina de Carvalho Eriksson, Dr. Peter Szatmari, Prof. Ian Hickie, Dr. Elizabeth Scott, Dr. Suneeta Monga, Dr. Jean Séguin, Dr. Nancy Butcher, Dr. Martin Offringa, Prof. Ian Goodyer


Project Updates


Depression Early Warning Study

The smartphone in your hand and the fitness tracker on your wrist may be the future of mental health. The Cundill Centre is leading one of the first studies to monitor youth depression through the use of mobile and wearable technology. The Depression Early Warning study will allow Clinician Scientists Dr. Marco Battaglia and Dr. John Strauss to monitor youth with depression over two years. The study was featured on CTV National News, one of Canada’s premier news broadcasts. If you missed it, you can see it here.


Dr. Strauss and Lydia Sequeira, a PhD Candidate working on the study, recently presented this work at the Technology in Psychiatry Summit at Harvard Medical School.

“For young people who experience depression, the time elapsing between recognizing the onset of a depressive episode and beginning treatment is often too long,” says Dr. Strauss. “By identifying early warning signs of depression, we hope to optimize early intervention.”


To find out about joining the DEW study, contact Steve Perrotta, Research Analyst, at 416-535-8501 ext. 30952 or dewstudy@camh.ca.



Cundill Centre Speaker Series


On October 15, Prof. Shirley Reynolds, a clinical psychologist and Director of the University of Reading's Charlie Waller Institute, visited from the UK. Her presentation reviewed key aspects of adolescent depression that are not well-understood and considered how psychological theory and research can improve our understanding and the outcomes of treatments.


Key Messages

  • Adolescents and adolescents with depression differ in important ways from adults and adults with depression
  • Treatment for adolescent depression must overcome cognitive, motivational and interpersonal barriers to engagement and must assess and manage elevated risk

While at the Cundill Centre, Prof. Reynolds also held a workshop on a Brief Psychosocial Intervention with CAMH child and youth mental health clinicians, as well as community stakeholders.


Clinical Practice Guidelines Project


Mexico City

In September, Dr. Szatmari presented "Threats to the validity of clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders in youth" at the 18th World Psychiatric Association World Congress of Psychiatry in Mexico City.



In October, the Cundill team facilitated a workshop on implementing clinical practice guidelines for clinicians at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’s 65th Annual Meeting in Seattle.


Cundill Scholar Dr. Darren Courtney, Dr. Szatmari and Community Health & Education Specialist Renira Narrandes.



In November, Cundill Scholar Dr. Suneeta Monga co-facilitated a workshop on the role of medication in the treatment of child and adolescent depression and anxiety at the 2018 University of Toronto Psychopharmacology Conference.


As part of the workshop, Dr. Monga presented the #CundillatCAMH Decision Aid for the Treatment of Child and Youth Depression (pictured above). The Cundill team is working with other communities in Ontario to implement this tool. Contact cundill.centre@camh.ca to learn more about the decision aid, or to request a copy of it.


More Knowledge Sharing


Mapping Psychosocial Screening to Services for Children with Cancer 

Dr. Maru Barrera presented at the International Society of Paediatric Oncology's 50th Congress in Kyoto, Japan. Her work seeks to determine whether screening children with cancer for depression and providing services to high scorers will decrease depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress – and improve coping, quality of life and social support.




Rethinking Mental Illness

Cundill Scholar Dr. J.D. Haltigan recently presented his work in Indianapolis at the 2018 Meeting of the Hierarchical Taxonomy Of Psychopathology (HiTOP), an international group of 70 researchers who collaborate to improve the organization, description and measurement of psychopathology. Read more about how Dr. Haltigan is advancing novel approaches that have the potential to redefine what we think of as mental illness and mental health.


HiTOP 2018 Meeting



The intricate relationship between chronic undernutrition, impaired linear growth and delayed puberty: Is ‘catch-up’ growth possible during adolescence?

Outcomes reported in randomized controlled trials of major depressive disorder treatments in adolescents: a systematic scoping review protocol


CAMH Presents to the Senate


Dr. Joanna Henderson, Director of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth & Family Mental Health and Implementation Science Director at the Cundill Centre, spoke to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology in October as part of a special study on child and youth mental health.

Dr. Henderson described encouraging progress in new models of care delivery and pushed for age-specific mental health services research that included collaboration across sectors and engaged young people and their families. “We need more research to better understand suicidal ideation and how to best intervene when youths are in crisis,” Dr. Henderson said. “We need to understand how to effectively teach all children and youth to cope with stress and achieve mental well-being.”

You can read more about her presentation here.


Meet Our Team


Dr. Marco Battaglia, 
Cundill Scholar

Dr. Marco Battaglia is the Associate Chief of the Division of Child and Youth Psychiatry at CAMH. He is also Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Full Bio

What excites you about the field of child and youth depression?
This is a relatively new field and our project is part of a large, international effort to characterise depression and risk of relapse via multiple psycho-physiological parameters. The importance of socio-biological rhythms in adolescent depression cannot be overemphasised, as disruption of social pacemakers, sleep and physical activity can be at the core of illness. By the same token, re-establishing sociobiological rhythms should become a substantial portion of the therapeutic process. I would love to extend our investigational format to nuclear families. I believe the shared familial environment is an important modifier of the pathological process, and intervention on biosocial rhythms at the family-wide level should be incorporated into the healing process.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?
I love to play Irish traditional music on the uilleann pipes.


Dr. John Strauss,
Cundill Scholar

Dr. John Strauss is Clinician Scientist in the Child, Youth and Family Program at CAMH. He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Full Bio

What excites you about the field of child and youth depression?
Just 40 years ago, there was intense debate in the mental health community as to whether child and youth depression even existed as a clinical entity. Since then there is mounting evidence it can be treated effectively. We have new tools to study it within the form of mobile and wearable devices – tools more powerful than what humans used to land on the moon. We will be using them to better understand child and youth depression and its relation to sleep and other factors. If the history of science tells us anything, it’s that new methods can dramatically change how we learn about nature. So our area of interest has new possibilities.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?
I am a huge OnePlus fan.


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

Copyright © 2019 CAMH. All rights reserved.
Unsubscribe from this list   |   Update subscription preferences