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Ontario Child and Youth Telepsychiatry Program

Ontario’s Telepsychiatry Program is a creative solution for increasing access and reducing wait times by providing mental health services for children and youth in rural, remote and underserved communities through video conferencing. Ottawa Region and Eastern Ontario are served through CHEO which is one of three current hubs in the program. The other hubs are: The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the Child and Parent Institute at the University of Western Ontario.

The program uses video conferencing to provide mental health services for children and youth under the age of 18. Services include assessments, diagnosis, recommendations for medication and therapy or counseling.

Anyone can request a consultation including parents, guardians, counselors, social workers, mental health workers, doctors and special ed teachers. Contact the Program Intake Coordinator at 613-737-7600 x1296.

Background Information
Why telepsychiatry?
Who can request a telepsychiatry consultation?
Who books a telepsychiatry consultation?
What are some of the mental health challenges covered?
How does a consultation get scheduled?
How does the program work?

Background Information

In 2007, the Ontario Child and Youth Telepsychiatry Program (OCYTP) was expanded from a program developed and solely delivered by the Hospital for Sick Children to a province-wide program. This took place as part of the Government of Ontario’s commitment to enhance mental health services for children and youth across the province.

The OCYTP is currently funded and overseen by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS). It is delivered by the Hospital for Sick Children, CHEO and the Child and Parent Resource Institute who provide clinical consultations such as psychiatric assessments and treatment recommendations. This is done through video conferencing to a range of community-based, designated child and youth mental health agencies - and the children and youth they serve - in rural, remote and underserved areas of the province. The OCYTP also provides educational sessions to support knowledge transfer and capacity building in the designated child and youth mental health agencies.

Through the Youth Justice Services Division, MCYS is also responsible for providing services to young people subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Through the OCYTP, MCYS and its partners are committed to services that are:

  • Reflective and responsive to children and youth, their family or caregiver and to the community's strengths and needs.
  • Accountable to the children and youth, their family or caregiver and the community.
  • Sensitive to the social, linguistic and cultural diversity of children and youth and their families or caregivers.
  • Staffed by individuals with the appropriate range of skills and abilities necessary to respond effectively to the needs of children and youth and their families or caregivers.
  • Based on the child’s and youth’s assessed needs, their preferences and available individual, agency, community and contracted MCYS resources.

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Why Telepsychiatry?

Telepsychiatry is an innovative and creative way to access mental health services for diagnosis, recommendations for medication, further assessments and therapy or counseling. This service is free and will benefit both the client and the clinician in providing a short waiting list and a fairly easy referral process. Once the telepsychiatry intake coordinator at the hub receives the referral, a telepsychiatry consultation is booked, usually within two to four weeks. A clinical consultation is generally booked for 90 minutes. After the consultation, a report is sent to the agency and the family physician within 10 days. The family physician and case manager can then follow through with the recommendations if required.

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Who Can Request a Telepsychiatry Consultation?

Anyone can request a consultation - parents and guardians, child and youth counselors, social workers, mental health workers, doctors, special ed teachers, probation officers or other professions.

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Who Books a Telepsychiatry Consultation?

An agency can request a consultation through the  CHEO hub intake coordinator. The designated sites are: L’Équipe psycho-sociale pour enfants et familles de S.D. & G. (Cornwall); Services aux enfants et adultes / Services to Children and Adults Prescott-Russell (Plantagenet); New Path Youth and Family Services (Barrie); Child and Youth Wellness Centre of Leeds-Grenville (Brockville); and The Phoenix Centre for Children and Families (Pembroke).

The appropriate consents and information forms can be accessed through the sites or from the hub intake coordinator at 613-737-7600 x1296.

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Mental Health Challenges May Include:

  • Behaviour problems
  • Problems at school
  • Mood and anxiety issues
  • Self-harm

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How Does a Consultation Get Scheduled?

Once it has been determined that a child or youth will participate in the program, the mental health agency will require parents or guardians to sign some forms, including consent forms. The agency then sends these forms to CHEO as one of the three coordinating hub centres across the province. The CHEO hub then schedules the consultation.

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How Does the Program Work?

The consultation is live and interactive. The psychiatrist and child or youth - along with his or her family or caregiver - can see and hear each other on a video screen. A case manager from the mental health agency also participates in the consultation.


At the end of the consultation, the psychiatrist prepares a report with a diagnosis and treatment recommendations. The report is sent to the case manager and to the child or youth’s family doctor.

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