A care pathway helps guide children, young people and families to, through and out of care. It ensures that families get the right service at the right time and in the right way.

Why we need pathways

Families often feel lost when looking for mental health or addictions help for their children, whether they are young or nearly grown. Most of them turn first to their family doctors or end up in emergency departments. But even doctors may struggle to connect families to the care they need — because primary care and community-based settings don't always have a seamless connection to one another.

How pathways help

Integrated care pathways are accessible, efficient and effective. When partners in different care settings work together, we can build a clear plan that shows which services or care activities can be accessed, along with information about when and how to do so. This creates better continuity of care and helps ensure that both families and care providers can more easily navigate the mental health and addictions system.

Focusing on care pathways

We co-developed Right time, right care: Strengthening Ontario’s mental health and addictions system of care for children and young people. This is a foundational resource for establishing strong, clear, integrated care pathways between schools — which are uniquely positioned to be able to identify mental health challenges and support early intervention — and community-based mental health and addictions agencies.

We’ve also taken mobilizing knowledge to a whole other level with these projects: