North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) is now ready to provide forensic assessments for youth across the Northeast Region. The service is geared to young people between the ages of 12 and 18. The youth assessments help inform the courts about the influence of mental illness upon a young person in conflict with the law.
“Although young people may be reluctant to get help for their illness and may find themselves in contact with the law, our service is aimed at pinpointing the mental health problem early so that the judicial and/or correctional system can be avoided. We want to alter the young person’s pathway toward one of wellness,” says Hélène Philbin Wilkinson, Director Dual Diagnosis and Mental Health & the Law at NBRHC.
The service is an enhancement to existing youth services in the Region and will result in more and better services closer to home, addressing emerging mental health care needs of young people. It is intended to minimize disruption in the young person’s life, promote stability, and optimize social inclusion. Children and youth will have their forensic assessment completed by a multi-disciplinary team, including both Forensic and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. The service will improve access to the right type of care in the right place and at the right time.
Psychiatrists support new service
Dr. Susan Adams, Chief of Psychiatry and Head of Mental Health and the Law programs says, “This is a collaborative effort to support the justice system in dealing appropriately with children and adolescents struggling with mental health problems who find themselves before the courts.”
Dr. Doug Marr, Service Chief, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry says, “This is a small service within a larger area of concern; there are large amounts of unmet needs in children’s mental health, child and adolescent psychiatry and related disciplines. The Service of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry welcomes this new initiative and supports it as best it can.”
The Forensic Services for Youth has had consultation and discussion with regional stakeholders and is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and supported by the NELHIN and the NBRHC Project Management Office.
Sr. Communications Specialist
North Bay Regional Health Centre