Anxious Youth in the Emergency Department (Breathe)
Anxiety is a common mental health problem for Canadian youth. Anxiety that is diagnosed as a disorder and serious enough to require treatment affects up to 10% of all youth by the age of 16. Anxiety disorders can have serious negative effects on a young person’s personal relationships, school performance, and family life. These disorders may not be discovered by youth, parents, and health care providers. Even if anxiety disorders are discovered, youth may not get the right therapy. Anxious youth can become sick if their anxiety is not treated properly.
Many youth go to a hospital emergency department when they are sick, for help with their anxiety. This is called a crisis. In Alberta, we studied these crisis visits and found that most anxious youth receive counselling and referral for follow-up care. However, the wait time can be 29 to 40 days before youth see a doctor for follow-up care. During this wait, many youth need to return to the emergency department for more crisis care. We see a need to create a treatment so that anxious youth do not have to wait for care. This treatment would help them after an emergency department visit.
Our team will carry out research to produce and test Breathe, our new Internet-based treatment for youth with anxiety problems. Youth can use this treatment from home after their emergency department visit. The Breathe program will be created and tested by our research team, with frequent input from youth and mental health professionals. The Breathe program will include information materials and personalized homework assignments to help anxious youth learn ways to manage anxiety. Youth could also talk to a professional therapist through an online discussion board. Our testing of the Breathe program will start with a pilot study with real patients. In the future, we plan full-scale scientific testing for the safety and usefulness of the Breathe program.
|Patrick McGrath – Co-PI||Lori Wozney – Research Associate|
|Mandi Newton – Co-PI|