Measuring Patient Oriented Outcomes in Children and Youth With Mental Health Concerns: Albertan Key Informant Perspectives


  • Jillian Koftinoff
  • Megan Mungunzul Amarbayan
  • Krystle Wittevrongel
  • Maria Santana
  • Jennifer Zwicker University of Calgary



Mental health concerns among children and youth in Alberta are increasing while poor mental health remains as one of the largest threats to childhood in Alberta. In Canada, mental illness impacts 1 in 4 youth. Demands for mental health services have steadily increased over the past 10 years. To address the child and youth mental health crisis, strategic coordinating and monitoring of child and youth mental health service outcomes are important. This information can inform planning, funding allocation and evaluation.

Mental health services were already in crisis when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The pandemic has only exacerbated the issue, particularly among youth. Delivering supports and services that meet the needs of youth is critical. A better understanding of the efficiency and effectiveness of mental health services is required. Patient-oriented outcome measures are important for gathering information that can incorporate the patient’s own perspectives of their outcomes during treatment. Such measures can inform equitable distribution of funds and efficiency of systems planning.

Despite patient-oriented research being a national priority, Canada does not have a policy directing how to conduct patient-oriented research; thus, provinces are creating their own. Alberta lacks a unified approach, resulting in various tools and measures being used, which, has led to issues tracking patient outcomes, identifying trends and referring patients to services. Strategic guidance and policy regarding how to measure and track outcome measures are needed to gather consistent data and provide better services. A lack of consistent data from patient’s perspectives impacts ability to make evidence informed, value-based decisions when allocating funds.