Rio Tinto donated $60,000 to BC Children’s Hospital as they look into the impact the pandemic has had on the mental health of young Canadians. (BC Children’s Hospital logo)

Rio Tinto donated $60,000 to BC Children’s Hospital as they look into the impact the pandemic has had on the mental health of young Canadians. (BC Children’s Hospital logo)

Rio Tinto supports BC Children’s Hospital mental health study

“This study will help us find out how we can better allocate mental health resources for youth”

Rio Tinto has donated $60,000 for a study being done by mental health experts at BC Children’s Hospital to better understand how the pandemic has affected children’s mental health.

The study has enrolled more than 350 B.C. families with children aged six to seventeen years old.

“The pandemic has triggered concerns around the resources available to respond to the anticipated surge of mental health needs in our kids,” said Dr. Quynh Doan, Director of Clinical Research at BC Children’s Hospital and lead researcher on the study. “To address this concern, we must first identify how often children and youth are having mental health concerns during the pandemic, what types and how severe these concerns are, and how best to connect families with helpful resources and support services.”

Dr. Doan and her team have developed a 15 to 30-minute online survey and an electronic assessment tool to help measure how much and in what manner the pandemic has affected the social and physiological wellness of the province’s children and youth.

Preliminary results suggest two-thirds of children and youth surveyed may be affected by mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With an aim to reach 500 young people, Dr. Doan, her team, and the hospital are recruiting families in the Northern Health and Interior regions.

“When we think of health, we often think of our physical health over our mental health. Mental health and well-being is a priority for Rio Tinto and we are proud to be supporting a project that is seeking to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of youth in BC. Our support of BC Children’s Hospital, the only hospital devoted exclusively to the care of children, will benefit youth and families across BC, including communities within the Northern Health region where Rio Tinto operates,” said Affonso Bizon, general manager, Rio Tinto BC Works.

To learn more about mental health awareness for youth, visit bcchildrens.ca

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jacob.lubberts@northernsentinel.com