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J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2018 Nov;27(4):236-244. Epub 2018 Nov 1.

A Study Protocol for the "Practitioner Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry" Cluster-randomized Pilot Study.

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The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
London Health Sciences Center, London, Ontario.
Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland.


in English, French


Primary care providers (PCPs) are increasingly called upon to assist in meeting the growing demand for paediatric mental health care in Canada, yet they report inadequate training and confidence to do so. The Practitioner Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (PTCAP) program was designed to fill this gap by teaching PCPs the skills needed to provide frontline care themselves, particularly in rural/remote regions where specialist resources are limited. This innovative educational intervention may improve paediatric mental health care capacity, but a pilot study is needed.


We designed a cluster randomized, controlled pilot of PTCAP. Random assignment to intervention or control (treatment-as-usual) will occur at the practice level. Participating PCPs (N=61) at sites randomized to intervention will receive eight hours of training in the use of practice guidelines and brief counseling techniques (i.e., common skills/elements) for addressing diagnosable conditions and more general, transdiagnostic concerns. Mental health care capacity at one-week post-intervention will be the primary outcome, assessed through self-report questionnaires of mental health care confidence, and through a more objective, observational assessment of trained skills. We will also examine retention of these skills at one-month follow-up. We expect use of trained common skills/elements to be associated with better child mental health outcomes on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (N = 250).


As one of the first RCTs of its kind in Canada, this study will provide unique, preliminary evidence in regards to the feasibility and efficacy of the PTCAP intervention for enhancing rural, paediatric mental health care capacity.


child and youth; mental health; common factors; medical education; primary care provider; rural


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