Video: Telepsychiatry provides long-distance mental health services

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Using technology to reduce disparities in mental health care

If you live in an urban centre, as most Canadians do, you have access to many services. If you wish to see a movie, you have dozens of choices, from the latest blockbuster in Imax 3D to the most exotic of art films. The same can be said for health services: if your child requires the care of a medical specialist, you have many choices. Even with these choices in an urban setting, though, securing appropriate mental health care can be a challenge.

These challenges are significantly exacerbated in rural and more remote parts of the country, where health services in general are typically scarce, and specialist mental health care is, as a rule, unobtainable. Untreated mental health problems can lead to school failure, family conflicts, substance abuse, violence, and even suicide.

TeleLink is a paediatric mental health service developed at The Hospital for Sick Children that allows mental health professionals from SickKids and other major hospitals to provide sensitive bilingual mental health care to children, youth, and their families who live in underserved rural areas, using state-of-the-art communications technology.

For more information on mental health problems in children, please see Behavioural and Emotional Problems in the Health A-Z section.