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Program Evaluation Exceeds National Outcomes
April 19 2010 - July 2009 marked the beginning of mindyourmind’s first formal program evaluation. The evaluation was made possible and supported by the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO and was completed in March 2010.
Statistics Canada Community Health Survey results indicate that only 25% of youth with a self identified mental health concern have accessed formal or informal supports. Using the same survey, results demonstrate that 65% of mindyourmind.ca repeat users, access either formal or informal support as a result of their use of the tools and help they’ve received on mindyourmind.ca. This is an impressive 160% improvement over the national average. Other key findings indicate that there is a statistically significant change for repeat visitors to the site. The longer one visits the site, the more apt they are to use the tools and resources not only to help themselves through a tough time, but to recommend the tools to friends or family. This emphasizes the success of mindyourmind’s attention to regular website updating of content and tools.
Other key findings:
- mindyourmind.ca and all of its broadcasting channels have been viewed 1,000,000 times in 2009.
- 66% of Canadian visitors to mindyourmind.ca were from Ontario.
- Feedback from youth participants in web-based and face-to-face youth volunteer programs showed a significantly high level of involvement that increased over time. Many reported that being involved in the project gave their life meaning, and reported it would be very difficult to give up their involvement.
- On measures of knowledge acquisition, youth volunteer project participants reported significant improvement in knowledge of mental illness and how to help others with mental health concerns
Dr. Ian Manion, Executive Director of the Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, indicates “The Centre supports initiatives that make transformational change in child and youth mental health a reality and promotes the best mental health and wellbeing for every child and youth in the province. mindyourmind’s undertaking of a comprehensive program evaluation indicates that it is indeed part of that transformative change process”.
Communicating with stakeholders such as youth volunteers, funders and professional colleagues informed the development of the evaluation framework and strategy. Conceptually, mindyourmind is a creative, complex and multi-faceted program with in-person and web-based components. mindyourmind integrates practice from a mix of frameworks: youth and civic engagement, social marketing, mental health promotion, stigma reduction and information technology.
mindyourmind has learned that there are significant gains to be made in engaging youth in the maintenance of their own mental health and that of their peers. Sandra Savage, Executive Director states: “This evaluation is just the beginning. We have gained new information but clearly mindyourmind is in a position to continue to make a significant contribution to the province's youth mental health engagement strategy.”
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