Multimorbidity In Youth Receiving Mental Health Services

Contemporary estimates suggest 13% of children and youth in Canada have a mental disorder. The negative effects associated with having a mental disorder are even more pronounced when youth also have a chronic health condition (known as multimorbidity). Little is known about the number of youth in Canada experiencing both a mental disorder and a chronic health condition and what factors influence the likelihood that a young person with a mental disorder will later develop a physical comorbidity.

Recruiting children and youth who are receiving services from the Mental Health Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital, the goals of this project are to:

  • Estimate the percentage of youth who have multimorbidity
  • Identify the clinical, physiological, psychosocial, and demographic factors that are associated with multimorbidity
  • Determine if youth with multimorbidity do, in fact, use more mental health services compared to youth with a mental disorder alone

Identifying why some youth develop multimorbidity while others do not is essential to creating directed prevention strategies at the health system and patient-level to improve quality of care and youth outcomes. Ultimately, this would have an impact on improving the coordination of care and reducing the health care costs associated with youth multimorbidity in Canada.

This study is funded by Hamilton Health Sciences.