In 2017 we set out to bridge the gap between primary care and community-based mental health services. We published Paving the path to connected care: Strengthening the interface between primary care and community-based child and youth mental health services and committed to put key recommendations from that policy paper into action.

Want to know more about why we need pathways and how they help? See our care pathways page.

From recommendations to action

Since 2018 we’ve worked with partners in seven locations across Ontario to implement and evaluate care pathways in their communities. This includes:

  • creating community advisory groups to promote communication between providers from different care settings.
  • supporting these providers to work together to create care pathways for their communities.
  • helping them integrate a standardized tool — the HEADS-ED — into their pathways.

While final data won’t be analyzed until the conclusion of the demonstration project, preliminary data from follow-up surveys shows that families that are referred along these pathways believe they’ve been directed to the appropriate services to meet their needs and are satisfied with both the wait times and the ease of access to services.

For more information about Primary care pathways, please email us.

What is HEADS-ED?

HEADS-ED is a brief, easy-to-use mental health screening tool that looks at seven aspects of a child or young person's thought processes, behaviours and their surrounding social environment. Findings from this tool help guide assessment and decision-making about treatment and help primary care providers connect clients with the right community services. While it's already a proven tool for older children and young people, we're working to validate an adapted version of HEADS-ED for children ages five and under.