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TeleLink Mental Health Program


Video conferencing, webcasting and other technologies can be used for a wide variety of educational purposes, including continuing education and training and supervision. The TeleLink Mental Health Program at SickKids has primarily focused on providing exposure of telepsychiatry to medical students, psychiatric residents and trainees from other disciplines, in addition to continuing education for professionals at distant sites.

The continuing education program for community mental health professionals was developed on the basis of a detailed needs assessment completed by participants at recipient sites, and informal impressions from the consultant psychiatrists and specialist children's mental health service providers working at the hub site. Based on the needs assessment results and on literature on effective continuing education, TeleLink developed a program of longitudinal, multi-part seminar series. Interactive teaching methods have been emphasized, including the use of case-based discussions, role plays and game show formats. The seminars cover a wide range of clinical topics, including ADHD, adolescent depression, family therapy, physical and sexual abuse and individual psychotherapies. Seminars are geared at either an introductory or advanced level to meet the needs of the diversity of practitioners at our far sites.

In addition, weekly psychiatry grand rounds at SickKids are broadcast across Ontario via videoconferencing and live and archived webcasting to sites registered with SickKids. Participating physicians from distant communities can access regular, accredited academic presentations for which they can receive CME Section 1 (group learning activities) credits. For further details on accessing these grand rounds, please contact Sandra Silva at sandra.silva@sickkids.ca.

A second educational goal for the TeleLink Program is to prepare future mental health professionals in the use of videoconferencing. Starting in 2005, all psychiatry residents at the University of Toronto are required to participate in at least two telepsychiatry consultations at TeleLink. Residents can observe a staff psychiatrist assess a child and family and are also able to participate in the interview and discussion process. To allow residents to further explore this area of work, TeleLink offers three- and six-month electives at our program. We also welcome medical students, trainees in social work, psychology, child and youth work and other disciplines involved in children’s mental health care to attend as an observer or arrange an experience tailored to your particular needs and interests.