Sandbox Youth Mental Health Initiative (SYMHI)

Through its Mental Health Working Group (MHWG), The Sandbox Project has launched a multi-phased Youth Mental Health Initiative to fulfil its goal of improving health outcomes for youth with respect to mental health over the next several years. The three phases focus on developing, testing, deploying and evaluating an electronic platform for youth with commonly experienced mental disorders.

Sandbox Youth Mental Health Initiative (SYMHI) Phase I was a 6-month research study that deployed and evaluated the usability and acceptability of assessment tools and personal health records accessible on any smart mobile devices or desktop computer connected to the internet. The outcome of the study on youth with depression concluded that a web based PHR (Personal Health Record) has great potential to deliver care more effectively and efficiently, thus expanding the capacity of the mental health system.

SYMHI Phase II Project Scope 

The current SYMHI Phase II is a 12-month project that leverages the learnings from SYMHI Phase I to configure, deploy, and evaluate a youth friendly solution. This solution includes a web-based platform and mobile application (imTeen) to support patient self-care and illness management, as well as a web-based provider portal for clinical care plan support and collaboration with youth on the progress of their care plan. The project is guided by two strategic directions:

  • Enhancing mental health care capacity through innovative technologies and increasing capacity of individuals to self-care and manage their mental illness
  • Enabling primary care providers to deliver good mental health care for patients with mild to moderate symptoms

SYMHI Phase ll project objectives include the following: 

  • Apply learnings from SYMHI Phase I to create a new solution
  • Leverage Primary Care to support early diagnosis & treatment of ADHD, Depression and Anxiety
  • Incorporate best practice assessment tools and treatments
  • Assess the clinical utility and efficacy of solution
  • Evaluate solution design, deployment and support model for future broader adoption and scalability

As part of this initiative, approximately 30 Primary Care Providers (PCPs) are being recruited from Pathways, Hotel Dieu Hospital, and Kingston Family Health Team. The enrolled PCPs will provide care to consented patients on their caseloads using the SYMHI Phase II solution. Selected patients are 16-25 years of age with moderate cases of ADHD, Anxiety and Depression. 

A six-month academic evaluation, led by the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston, Ontario and Dr. Stan Kutcher will be conducted. It will include both qualitative (e.g. user satisfaction) and quantitative measures (e.g. Diagnosis outcomes based on survey scores).


Project Partners