The health of Ontario’s children and youth
Statistics Canada is conducting a special study on the health of children and youth, and your household has been selected to participate. The purpose of the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS) is to collect up-to-date information about children’s mental health in Ontario.
A previous study of child and youth health helped develop provincially sponsored programs, such as Healthy Babies, Healthy Children and the Ontario Early Years Centres. The 2014 study will help us to understand how schools and neighbourhoods influence the mental health of children and youth and to assess how well services in Ontario are responding to these needs.
By participating in the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study, you will make it possible to create a complete picture of the mental health of today’s children and youth. The information from this study will help Ontario to make funding decisions to improve the prospects and conditions for all children and youth.
“Good mental health is a resource for living. It enhances physical health and helps people succeed in school, at work and in their relationships...” Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, report by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2011
Taking part in this study: what to expect
The OCHS questions will be directed to parents, youth aged 12 to 17 and teachers of children in kindergarten to grade 8.
Parents can expect to be asked about
- their own physical and mental health
- their family and marital functioning
- their home and neighbourhood
- the mental and physical health of up to four of their children aged 4 to 17
- their children’s school, activities and their use of children’s health services
Youth aged 12 to 17 will be asked about
- their own mental and physical health
- their social and school activities
- their family and neighbourhood
We will also ask you for your consent to contact your child or children’s teachers and to ask them to complete a questionnaire. Since the expectations of and demands on children are different at home and at school, children sometimes act differently in these two settings, so it is important to get information from both parents and teachers.
Teachers will be asked about
- the child’s mental health and social skills
- the child’s academic functioning
By using all of these sources, we hope to gather comprehensive and detailed information about the mental health of Ontario’s children and youth.
Your information is confidential
This study is conducted under the authority of the Statistics Act, which ensures that the information provided will be kept strictly confidential and will be used only for statistical and research purposes. We do not release any information that could identify you, your child, or any member of your household.
Before the interview
A Statistics Canada interviewer will contact you shortly to set up an appointment for a personal interview. If your child is taking prescription medications, please have the containers or names available in advance so the interviewer can record them. Additionally, think about your child’s behaviours, the health care services he or she has used in the past six months, sleep routine, activities in and outside of school, and the types of food he or she eats. The interviewer may ask about these subjects.
Data linkage and sharing – only with your permission
We will be asking your permission to link and share your data with government of Ontario ministries such as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. This will provide valuable and anonymous information that researchers can use to study the relationships between overall health, mental health and academic performance.
Your participation makes a difference
Your participation will ensure that the survey results are as accurate and reliable as possible. With your support, we will be able to provide a detailed portrait of the mental health of children across Ontario, and the services they use.
Thank you for helping us make a difference!
Need to know more?
Contact us: 1-800-387-0714
Information for survey participants: Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS)
This study is sponsored by McMaster University, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and its policy partners – the Ontario Ministries of Children and Youth Services, and Education, and involves 43 experienced academic researchers.