The Mood and Anxiety Service offers assessment and treatment for children and youth aged 6–18 years old (and their parents/caregivers) who are experiencing mood and/or anxiety difficulties. Children and young people seen in the service are typically experiencing problems related to worry, phobias, emotions, sadness and/or hopelessness.
Referrals for children and youth for psychiatric assessment are completed by a physician (family doctor, pediatrician, psychiatrist) and are forwarded to Access CAMH, CAMH’s centralized intake service. An appointment with a CAMH clinician will be booked following intake.
A CAMH clinician will meet with the child/youth and parents/caregivers to collect information to best understand presenting concerns in order to inform which medical and psychosocial treatments, if indicated, may be helpful. If psychosocial treatment at CAMH is indicated, the clinician will make a referral for treatment in the Mood and Anxiety Service.
The Mood and Anxiety Service offers psychosocial interventions for children, youth and parents/caregivers in group format.
When a referral for treatment is received, a clinician in the Mood and Anxiety Service reviews the referral information, consults with the psychiatrist as needed, and meets with the child/youth (and parents/caregivers) to discuss the referral and foster engagement in treatment. If there is a good fit between the patient's needs and the psychosocial treatments available in the Mood and Anxiety Service, the child/youth and parents/caregivers are offered the appropriate treatment when it is next available.
Group intervention is offered for children and youth aged 10–18 years where the focus of treatment is on the interplay of thoughts, feelings and behaviour (that is, on the CBT triangle). Children/youth will learn about these three parts of themselves and the relationship between them; they will learn to gain some control over them by shifting how they understand and experience what happens around them; they will learn relaxation and mindfulness, interpersonal skills and problem-solving; and there will be opportunity to practice skills and strategies in group and resources provided to encourage practice outside of group.
Groups are organized based on both age and the primary area of need (for example, anxiety-focused groups and depression-focused groups). Group treatments are manualized for clear and organized facilitation and are based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), a well-proven intervention for mood and anxiety difficulties.
Psychological education groups are also offered to parents/caregivers wanting to better understand mood and anxiety difficulties in children and youth and to better support and advocate for their children.