Innovation summary

One in five children and youth, at any given time, experience a mental health issue. In Ontario, 73% of these children do not receive the care they need, particularly because there is a lack of knowledge and awareness of existing services.  Prevention, early identification, and intervention especially through school-based community partnerships, can contribute to healthy individuals, an increase academic performance, and subsequently, healthy communities.

The Algoma Model seeks to develop and implement a collective vision for delivering a continuum of comprehensive, integrated evidence-informed services for children and youth through collaboration and partnership, and to maximize the use of existing resources to facilitate the development of the full abilities and capacities of children and youth in Algoma District.

The innovation consists of:

  • Population-based tiers of intervention, with schools as “hubs of opportunity” to support the mental health of children/youth through a range prevention to treatment services, from natural supports, targeted interventions, specialized treatments and crisis services
  • Community partners to better understand where their services, supports and programs fit into an overall range of supports
  • A web-based community portal developed to assist the community (general public, professionals, and groups) in searching available resources, and identifying and accessing the right services and supports (e.g. for Teens, for substance use).

Impact summary

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."

 

- Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor company

Innovation details

The Algoma Model was developed by service providers in the Algoma District to support children and adolescents who were struggling with mental health and behavioral issues that disrupted one or more sectors of their lives, i.e. home, school, community. 

Key drivers

Teamwork and Partnerships

Student Support Leadership Initiative ad-hoc team of AFS, ADSB and HSCSAB executives work closely

Strong initial community partnership has led to increased number of community partners asking to become part of the Algoma Model

Monthly Meetings to Develop and Implement Model

Initial monthly meetings to develop and implement model focusing on prevention, support, treatment and crisis as four quadrants of the model across geography of Algoma District

Strengthening and Developing New Protocols (ongoing)

Ongoing work to strengthen existing, and develop new protocols between community partners, e.g., CCAC MH nurses,  School MH leads, Algoma Family Services, Sault Area Hospital, School-Parent Councils, Parent-Student Initiatives

Challenges

Insufficient Resources

Insufficient resources for the program were overcome by leveraging existing resources in new and creative ways

Developing Positive Community Relationships

Positive community relationships were hard to build in areas where they were previously strained or non-existent

Determining Cost-Effective Outreach

Determining the best modality to use to reach the most people at the lowest cost

Continuation

The model has become a major tool that school boards use to develop non-academic supports and programming for suspensions and expulsions. It has also been adapted by school boards in other parts of Ontario.

Local school board personnel also give presentations on where and how to access mental health resources to empower youth in schools.

Evaluation methods

A formal evaluation has not been completed yet, however program usage is continuously monitored. 

The initial design of the model was created with input from the Ontario Centre of Excellence.

Cost of implementation

Initial set-up cost was approximately $30,000 for the website.

In-kind contributions include(d):

  • Executives from multiple agencies donated their time to plan over 18 months
  • Meeting space and resources
  • Administrative support
  • Research, travel time and expenses to present at multiple conferences

A formal evaluation of cost effectiveness has not been undertaken. 

Impact details

  • A formal impact evaluation has not yet been completed

  • Statistics show an increase in usage over the past three years

  • Anecdotal reports from teachers indicate they and their students (grades 7-12), are using the website to access services

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