Dr. Chantal Camden, of the École de réadaptation la Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé de l’Université de Sherbrooke and researcher at the Centre de recherche du CHUS, and Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise, of Bishop’s University’s Psychology Department, will join their efforts to establish a scientific basis aiming to guide mental health interventions to support children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to Government of Canada funding.
Dr. Camden and Dr. Malboeuf-Hurtubise were awarded funds by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) COVID-19 Mental Health Initiative to consolidate and synthesize the evidence base on which public mental health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the identification of relevant interventions will be made. There are currently knowledge gaps under the current circumstances that the two childhood specialists will attempt to fill by synthesizing the available literature on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s mental health.
Dr. Camden and Dr. Malboeuf-Hurtubise will lead a multidisciplinary and multi-institution team in which McGill University, Université de Montréal, and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières will also take part.
The research will notably focus on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of children between five and 12 years old, with particular attention to children living with a handicap or chronic disease, in order to identify the best intervention strategies for them. Currently available preliminary information suggests these children are more at risk of suffering from the lack of social interactions and disruption to daily routines that have emerged because of confinement measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. These children are thus more likely of suffering from anxiety or other mental health conditions.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s mental health is a concern. To the extent that youth and their families will have to deal with the issue for the coming months or years, it seemed crucial to empirically document the impact of COVID-19 on children’s mental health. This knowledge will then allow us to formulate science-based specific recommendations to diminish negative consequences of the current crisis on the mental health of our youth,” Dr. Malboeuf-Hurtubise remarks.
“This collaboration between researchers from different institutions – of course within Sherbrooke as a university research hub, but also with our colleagues from Montréal and Trois-Rivières, will allow us to reach our goals at the appropriate pace within the context of a rapidly-evolving situation in order, we hope, to provide the required support to vulnerable individuals in our society,” Dr. Camden observes.
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