FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CENTRAL LAMBTON FAMILY HEALTH TEAM PARTNERS WITH SCHULICH SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
TO ADVANCE ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH DIAGNOSIS AND CARE
April 29, 2015
PETROLIA, ON Sarah Milner, Executive Director of The Central Lambton Family Team (CLFHT), announced today that the team would be working with the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry to begin a program to support doctors dealing with the mental health challenges facing adolescents (children 6-18) in rural practices. Team physician, Dr. Firas Al Dhaher MD., has been working with Dr. Margaret Steele, HBSc, MD, Med, DFCPA, CCPE, Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Family Medicine, to bring the initiative to rural Lambton County.
The first of its kind in Canada, the program will focus on change and motivation; and family-centered principles that emphasize the important role of the family in child and youth mental health treatment. The program’s unique design features have been incorporated to address the expressed educational needs of rural family physicians: a focus on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), behavioural disorder, mood/anxiety disorders and suicide ideation and behaviour, region-specific resources to support care coordination and referral.
Milner said, “We are honoured to work in partnership with University of Western Ontario on this important project. Primary care is often the first contact families reach out to for help when their children experience changes in mood, behaviour, sleep and relationships. The 2006 Government of Canada report, “The Human Face of Mental Health and Illness in Canada”, states 70 % of mental health issues have their onset during childhood or adolescence. Primary care providers are in a unique position to intervene early, assess the concerns and link with appropriate supports. Expanding the capacity to detect, diagnose and treat mental health disorders benefits patients, families and the community as a whole.
Mary-Pat Gleeson, CLFHT Board Chair, echoed Milner’s words: “This news is both a relief and exciting. The program will ensure the best mental health care possible for children in Central Lambton County, and is another major step towards our vision of being a model for rural health care. On behalf of Petrolia and its neighbours, we welcome Dr. Steele and her amazing staff to our community.”
Dr. Al Dhaher said, “This is a very exciting endeavour, putting together the Schulich school of Medicine alongside its faculty here in Petrolia and addressing the issues of mental health in our adolescent population. The objectives of such an initiative are very impressive, and we are all optimistic about how it can serve our patients given the available under-serviced resources.”
Central Lambton Family Health Team
(519) 882-2500 ext. 160
Dr. Margaret Steele, HBSc, MD
Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and
Family Medicine Schulich School of Medicine
(519) 661-2111 ext. 88867