University of Saskatchewan launches new pediatric mental health training program

A new training program offered at the University of Saskatchewan, CanREACH-SK, is providing local physicians and nurse practitioners training to asses, diagnose and treat pediatric mental health conditions.

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The addition of the program should help to take some of the caseload off of psychiatrists across Saskatchewan.

“There are about 17 child and adolescent psychiatrists practicing in Saskatchewan,” USask assistant professor of Psychiatry Dr. Anna Felstrom said. “But when we do assessments of how many there should be, there should probably be around 40.”

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As the program continues Felstrom hopes that it could potentially alleviate some of the current wait times patients wait to see pediatric psychiatrists.

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“Our wait list for non-urgent problems, to in to see us can be two years,” she said. “Which is a very long time in a child’s life.”

Despite the work that is required by trainee’s, enrolment numbers into the program have been positive.  Over the course of the program they’re taught how to manage and asses anxiety, depression, ADHD, and behavioural problems in children.

“We can train just 25 (people) at a time, because the training takes six months, it’s quite an intensive course,” Felstrom said. “Every course has been full, so, we’ve been able to train 75 doctors in the province so far.”

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