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TVO interviews Toula Kourgiantakis about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s mental health

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TVO interviewed Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream Toula Kourgiantakis about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has have on children. The feature article, “Kids in crisis: Inside Ontario’s overloaded mental-health system,” investigated “what happens to youth when a strained mental-health system meets a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.”

Write Marsha McLeod and Ashley Okwuosa:

The fact that many services are delivered over the phone, says Toula Kourgiantakis, an assistant professor at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, also presents a challenge. “For mental health, that doesn’t cut it,” she says. “We need to actually see the person to be able to do a proper assessment.”

According to Cynthia Weaver, chief operating officer of the community-based mental-health provider Kinark Child and Family Services, a number of the children the organization works with haven’t managed well virtually. “For some youth who have fairly significant and complex mental-health issues, they really need to connect in person,” she says. “And when they get into crisis, they really do need that individual support within the same room as them.”

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