COVID-19 Update - Important Information
This past year was one of the most unique global events ever experienced by our clients, families, our staff, and learners. It presented us with a collective challenge to quickly re-imagine every service SickKids CCMH and the Learning Institute offer to ensure our continued support of our clients across these two institutions. We are very proud of the accomplishments of our Treatment Centre and Learning Institute teams who rapidly pivoted to online and virtual modes to ensure we could continue to reach our important stakeholders.
Clinical teams pivoted to home-based video models
At SickKids CCMH, 90 per cent of all clinical services quickly pivoted to home-based video models – from in-home intensive family support services to day treatment for some of our youngest and teen clients. In collaboration with our school board partners, our eight-day treatment classrooms pivoted from virtual service to in-person and back to virtual – ensuring that we sustained both academic and therapeutic engagement and connection with our families. This year’s school graduation ceremonies were even more meaningful as each student in day treatment enjoyed a virtual spotlight moment on Zoom celebrating their accomplishment of graduating under such unique and challenging circumstances – a very special moment for their families and our staff.
Access and engagement of our clients, always a top priority at the Treatment Centre, remained a key goal and we are proud that in 2020/21, our staff efforts resulted in the agency serving nearly as many clients as in pre-pandemic years while also achieving a 47 per cent reduction in our wait times to initial service for our clients. While our early intervention and prevention programs were significantly disrupted, we saw this as an opportunity to innovate and launch more online groups for parents, which resulted in a 50 per cent increase in the number of families in our Families First workshops and a 33 per cent increase in participation in our EarlyON programming.
SickKids CCMH leveraged the pandemic to create new collaborations between our staff and with our community colleagues – we invite you to look at our Pandemic Pivot series in this report which tells the stories of the important work of our nurses, therapists and teams who worked hard to develop new groups and interventions to respond to the unique pandemic-related stressors that impacted the mental health of our clients.
Learning Institute increases their reach with a virtual model
The Learning Institute, already developing an important online presence for professional learners, leveraged the pandemic to vastly increase its virtual course catalogue, increasing the number of courses by 25 per cent and achieving a 92 per cent increase in learner participation with an 88 percent overall satisfaction rate. Recognizing the importance of access to training across the mental health sector in addition to its regular programming, the Institute provided clinician support webinars that were free or on a cost-recovery basis reaching an additional 815 participants. For their efforts this year, the Institute team was recognized by the SickKids Learning Institute (LI) with an LI Award of Excellence for their successful adaptation to a virtual model.
Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity will inform future planning
While the global pandemic dominated virtually every aspect of agency and institute activities, this year included an additional priority that will be part of our ongoing efforts in the years to come.
At SickKids CCMH a revitalized anti-Black racism (ABR) and health equity strategy was launched with the formation of a new Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity Advisory Working Group that will inform future planning at SickKids CCMH. Staff and leadership attended a sector wide ABR training and coordinated a revitalized staff-led events calendar to celebrate Black History Month and Indigenous History Month. The Institute brought in new health equity courses around ABR, supporting Indigenous clients, and transgender care. The Institute also sought ways to ensure the online programming is accessible for all learners and called upon their facilitators to include a health equity focus on their materials and presentations. SickKids CCMH and the Institute staff collaborated to develop the SickKids CCMH Land Acknowledgement Statement, which is now in use in both organizations.
Finally – we could not have achieved any of the work and progress of the past year without the tireless and dedicated efforts of our staff and teams across the Treatment Centre and Learning Institute. Staff resiliency and dedication to respond to the challenges of virtual home-based care and the need to pursue relentless innovation enabled us to stay connected to our clients and continue to offer service during a time of considerable disruption. We remain enormously grateful to each member of the SickKids community teams.
As we look to the future, we are excited at the opportunity to work with our staff, clients, community colleagues and SickKids with the goal of improving the child and youth mental health system. Our sincere thanks to our many partners who have worked with us this past year – we look forward to our continued and collective efforts as now more than ever, our efforts to increase access to pediatric mental health care remains a priority for us all.
Chair, Board of Trustees
SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health
For the SickKids CCMH Board
Brain and Mental Health Program, SickKids
and SickKids CCMH
for the Senior Leadership Team, SickKids CCMH
Vice President Education & Academic Practice, SickKids
Lead Executive, SickKids CCMH Learning Institute