What started as a merger 15 years ago has become a movement in mental health and addictions health care.
When the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, the Donwood Institute, and the Addiction Research Foundation joined forces on March 9, 1998, it was a pioneering move to integrate mental illness and addiction, and clinical care with research, education and policy development. Since then, CAMH has experienced remarkable growth and earned a global reputation for transforming lives.
In some ways, CAMH is very much like any other 15-year-old — young, passionate, full of potential, and on the brink of fully becoming our best self. CAMH’s first 15 years set the pace for the next several years of transformation mapped out in our Vision 20:20 Strategic Plan.
Research discoveries, new therapies and new buildings to help our clients recover have created a momentum which promises that the best is yet to come.
Here are some key highlights of the last 15 years that helped put CAMH on the map:
Dr. Paul Garfinkel becomes the first President and CEO of the newly merged organization that becomes CAMH.
CAMH helps launch Canada’s first Drug Treatment Court
in collaboration with the federal Department of Justice, the Toronto Police Service, Toronto Public Health and various community agencies.
CAMH is named a Centre of Excellence in Addictions and Mental Health by the World Health Organization.
CAMH develops an award-winning master plan for the redevelopment
of its antiquated and stigmatized Queen Street site into a multi-use “urban village,” an integrated health care centre unlike any other in the world.
CAMH introduces revolutionary medication doses for depression and schizophrenia as a result of positron emission tomography (PET) technology.
CAMH introduces Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, combining the practice and clinical application of mindfulness meditation with the tools of cognitive therapy, as a new therapy at CAMH.
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CAMH scientists discover more than 70 novel human receptor genes, many of which help mediate unique functions in the brain and are targets for drug design.
CAMH passes the Bill of Client Rights.
It was adopted to promote the worth and dignity of all clients and is intended to enhance the care provided to our clients.
CAMH launches the “Transforming Lives” public awareness campaign.
CAMH opens the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Clinic, offering a pioneering treatment that stimulates a region of the brain with a magnetic pulse to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and depression.
CAMH PET studies reveal that most antidepressants miss the key target—serotonin receptors—for treating clinical depression. The discovery establishes a standard that anti-depressants being developed for the market be 80 per cent effective in hitting this target.
CAMH opens the Women’s Medium Secure Forensic Unit, the only gender-specific unit of its kind in Ontario specially designed and staffed to treat women with serious mental illness who require specialized care and rehabilitation.
CAMH researchers discover the first concrete genetic linkage to schizophrenia via a subtype of the disease called Deletion Syndrome.
Four new buildings on a new street called White Squirrel Way open their doors on April 7, completing Phase 1A of CAMH’s bold Queen Street Redevelopment Project.
CAMH welcomes its new President and CEO, Dr. Catherine Zahn, on December 1.
Peer support workers bring their own lived experiences to round out the care team of the Schizophrenia Program, enhancing recovery, promoting client-centred practice and a holistic view of health.
CAMH scientists discover higher levels of the brain protein called monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) in women after childbirth may be a possible explanation why post-partum blues and clinical depression occur, and begin developing supplements to target this loss of nutrients, and lower the risk of post-partum depression.
Using brain imaging and genetics, CAMH scientists identify a variation of a gene that may play a role in late-onset Alzheimer's disease. CAMH’s Research Imaging Centre opens its doors--the only imaging centre in Canada dedicated to the study of mental illness and addiction.
CAMH transforms our Queen Street site into a new kind of hospital for the 21st century with the opening of the three new buildings of Phase 1B of the Queen Street Redevelopment Project,
along with new through streets linking CAMH with the surrounding neighbourhood. The first non-CAMH building, affordable housing for the community, opens its doors as well.
The Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute opens at CAMH with a focus on brain science. It was made possible by the Campbell family’s historic $30 million gift
to accelerate research, Canada’s largest ever donation to mental health.
CAMH opens the new Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention
(above) Canada’s first clinic to investigate using Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST) and other promising new treatments for persistent and severe mental illness.
has arrived in the community. Mental health patients at a local medical clinic are offered genetic testing to predict how they will respond to psychiatric medication treatment. The tests, which will prevent trial-and-error prescribing and reduce associated health-care costs, will be analyzed in the Tanenbaum Centre for Pharmacogenetics
at the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute.
Where do you see CAMH in the next 15 years? Leave us a comment to let us know!