Promoting children's mental health in Ontario

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Congratulations to Professor Dillon Browne on winning an Ontario Early Researcher Award (ERA) for his project, Promoting Children's Mental Health in Ontario: A Whole Family Approach to Research and Practice.

Dillon BrowneBrowne is a clinical psychologist specializing in childhood mental health through a “family systems” lens, a unique approach to understanding the complex influences on child development. He also holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Child and Family Clinical Psychology and runs the Whole Family Lab in the Department of Psychology. 

"Ontario is currently experiencing a children's mental health crisis, with one-in-five meeting diagnostic criteria for a mental disorder and only a third of these receiving treatment," says Browne. "Despite studies demonstrating the importance of family functioning in understanding children's mental health, research has largely overlooked the impact of whole-family dynamics, instead focusing on single children and/or caregivers.

“There is a pressing need to better understand the family-wide factors that contribute to childhood mental health, and develop evidence-based, whole-family interventions (i.e. family therapies) that can be translated to practice.”

With the ERA support, Browne will build a research team that includes students giving them excellent experiential learning opportunities to train in family therapy methods, in addition to conducting clinical science in mental health settings. Browne adds, “This project will galvanize a network of clinician scientists locally, nationally, and internationally who are interested in promoting children’s mental health through the dissemination of family therapy techniques.”

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