The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario saw the largest demand ever for its mental health services in the 2011-12 fiscal year, sparking the hospital to launch a mental health website today.

The hospital said, over the last two years, it has seen a 49 per cent increase in emergency room visits for patients seeking help with their mental health.

That, according to CHEO, has lengthened the average wait time for treatment to six to 12 months from two to three months. The wait list currently holds the names of 760 children.

High-risk behaviours, including an imminent suicide risk, are also increasing among children brought to the hospital. That has jumped 22 per cent, the hospital said.

CHEO suggests the increase is at least partially caused by the removal of the stigma surrounding mental illness.

YearEmergency visitsIn-patient daysOut-patient referrals to CHEO
2009-101773

4409

1039

2010-11223752921689
2011-122637

5815

1929
Total % change493286