The Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS) described in the companion paper (1) confirms the fact that psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents are prevalent, that comorbidity and associated impairements are common and that only a minority of children are seen by any definite mental health or social service. The current assessment and treatment methods and the present service system leave the majority of children unserved. Children and their families suffer a good deal before they are adequately diagnosed and treated, and treatment service delivered on a one-by-one basis are expensive. The OCHS data, has, it follows, important implications for clinical work, for mental health service planning, for further research and for training in child and adolescent psychiatry. This paper does not address all the implications of the OCHS in these areas but does attempt to address those which follow from the summary of the OCHS data described in (1).
This study explored the service needs of families with a parent with an affective illness. Focus-group and individual interviews were conducted at selected locations across Canada with individuals who had an affective disorder, their partners, and their adult children. A total of 67 participants were recruited. Corresponding service providers were mailed a questionnaire which asked information regarding these families' needs, the service provider's role with these families, and what prevented or assisted them in addressing those needs. A total of 419 service providers participated in the study. There was congruence between family-identified needs and the needs identified by service providers. However, there remains a large disparity between the knowledge of needs and having these needs met. The results of this study identify the gaps in service provision and make recommendations for changes in the areas of service, education, and policy-making.