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Longitudinal Youth in Transition Study (LYiTS): protocol for a multicentre prospective cohort study of youth transitioning out of child and adolescent mental health services at age 18
  1. Kristin Cleverley1,2,3,
  2. Kathryn J Bennett4,
  3. Sarah Brennenstuhl1,
  4. Amy Cheung3,5,
  5. Joanna Henderson2,3,
  6. Daphne J Korczak3,6,
  7. Paul Kurdyak2,3,
  8. Andrea Levinson2,3,
  9. Antonio Pignatiello3,6,
  10. Jennifer Stinson1,7,
  11. Aristotle N Voineskos2,3,
  12. Peter Szatmari2,3,6
  1. 1 Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4 Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact (formerly Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics), McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6 Department of Psychiatry, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  7. 7 Department of Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kristin Cleverley; k.cleverley{at}


Introduction Transition between health services is widely recognised as a problematic hurdle. Yet, the factors necessary for successful transition out of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) as youth reach the service boundary at age 18 are poorly understood. Further, fragmentation and variability among the services provided by mental health organisations serve to exacerbate mental illness and create unnecessary challenges for youth and their families. The primary aim of the Longitudinal Youth in Transition Study (LYiTS) is to describe and model changes in psychiatric symptoms, functioning and health service utilisation at the transition out of CAMHS at age 18 and to identify key elements of the transition process that are amendable to interventions aimed at ensuring continuity of care.

Methods and analysis A prospective longitudinal cohort study will be conducted to examine the association between psychiatric symptoms, functioning and mental health and health service use of youth aged 16–18 as they transition out of child mental health services at age 18. We will recruit a sample of (n=350) participants from child and adolescent psychiatric programmes at two hospital and two community mental health sites and conduct assessments annually for 3 years using standardised measures of psychiatric symptoms, functioning and health service utilisation.

Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval has been obtained at all four recruitment sites. We will disseminate the results through conferences, open access publications and webinars.

  • healthcare transitions
  • mental health
  • youth
  • cohort study
  • longitudinal

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  • Contributors KC is the principal investigator who conceived the original study design and obtained funding. All authors participated in revisions to the study design for important intellectual content. KC drafted the protocol, and all the authors read, revised and approved the final version of the manuscript. SB is the statistician who led the calculation of the sample size, developed the analytical plan and will undertake the statistical analysis.

  • Funding The LYiTS project has received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) under grant agreement (PJT–153334). This paper reflects the authors’ views. CIHR had no role in the study design, in writing the protocol, or in the decision to submit the protocol for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; peer reviewed for ethical and funding approval prior to submission.