Find answers to common questions about taking part in studies at CAMH. There's also information about joining our participant list, and your legal and privacy rights. Click the questions to get to the answers below.
You can explore the following ways to participate in research at CAMH:
See a list of several other organizations that post studies online in Canada, the U.S. and internationally.
Many different types of studies take place at CAMH. They can be described in two ways: observational studies and experimental studies.
Observational study. In this type of study, researchers will look closely at a group of people of interest, and measure specific variables or features. No treatment is given. Some examples are:
A study of brain scans of people with and without depression, to look for differences in brain chemistry or function.
A study that looks at how people do on a memory or driving test, before and after substance use.
A study on certain genes or cell activity in relation to symptoms, such as suicidal thinking or attempts.
Experimental trial. This type of study involves testing a therapy or approach to care, to determine if it works and is safe. The treatment might involve talk therapy, a medical device, or a new drug or combination of drugs. Often, studies look at new ways to improve on existing treatments. Some examples are:
A study that aims to reduce symptoms of depression using brain stimulation.
A study of a new app for youth with depression.
A study that compares one year vs. six months of therapy for borderline personality disorder to see if the shorter treatment works as well.
These are a few examples. There are many studies underway.
People of all ages and backgrounds take part in research at CAMH. Some are receiving care at CAMH, but you do not need to be a current client or patient to participate. In some cases, you may need a referral from your family doctor.
Some people respond to public ads or find studies in our online study database. Healthy volunteers, without any mental health or substance use issues, are also needed for many studies.
Most CAMH studies take place at one of our sites in Toronto: 1001 Queen St. West, 250 College St. or 33 Russell St.
Your name will be included in the CAMH Research Registry. It is a centralized, secure database that is used to connect CAMH researchers with people who would like to get involved in approved studies.
The registry helps to link researchers looking for study participants with people interested in taking part in research. CAMH researchers use the registry to search for potential participants. As a registry member, you may be identified and contacted by research staff if there is a study relevant for you.
Joining is easy and free.
• Complete the online registration form and provide your contact information and personal information (date of birth, gender, ethnicity, education, and diagnosis-if any).
• You can also contact the Research Registry office for a consent form to complete and sign.
• If you are attending a CAMH clinic or participating in a CAMH research study, you may be asked to consider joining the registry.
Your contact information (name, phone number, personal e-mail address, mailing address) and personal information (date of birth, gender, ethnicity, education, and diagnosis) is collected. It is used to help connect CAMH researchers with people who might be eligible for CAMH studies. The information that you provide is voluntary. The more information you provide may increase the likelihood of being matched to appropriate studies.
Your information will remain on the list as long as you like. You can ask to leave the list at any time or update your information by contacting the CAMH Research Registry office at 416-535-8501 ext. 31630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your personal information matches initial study requirements, you may be contacted by a member of the research team. The study will be described to you in detail, and you may be screened to determine if the study is a good fit for you.
This will depend on several factors: a) the types of research studies that are recruiting at the time, b) what are the study requirements (e.g., older adults, specific mental health problems, healthy), and c) whether the information you provide fits the study requirements. Therefore, not everyone who enrolls in the registry will be contacted immediately for a study.
In Canada, we have laws and ethical standards that govern research with human participants. At CAMH, our Research Ethics Board, legal counsel, and Information and Privacy Office help to ensure that these standards are respected by all CAMH researchers. All studies at CAMH have been approved by our Research Ethics Board.
It is your decision to take part in a study or not. You are under no obligation to participate.
You have the right to confidentiality. This means having all your personal medical information and personal identification kept private.
If you are eligible for a study, research staff will ask for your consent before you take part. You will be given all the details about the study, and your questions will be answered. Learn more about informed consent in the question below.
You have the right to decide to leave a study or withdraw from the registry at any time. It will not affect your current or future care at CAMH, your relationship with your health care team, or your ability to participate in studies at CAMH in the future.
If you are eligible for a study, research staff will review details about the study so that you can make an informed decision about participating or not. This information will be provided on an Informed Consent form. It provides details about the purpose, procedures, duration and potential risks and benefits. They will outline:
• other treatment options available and how they may be better or worse than being in a study
• what is expected of you
• any medical or personal information that may be shared with other researchers directly involved in the research
• any questions about the study before giving consent and at any time during the course of the study.
You also have the right to:
• be allowed ample time, without pressure, to decide whether to consent or not to consent to participate
• receive a signed and dated copy of the informed consent form
CAMH is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals. The information gathered as part of any study or through the CAMH Research Registry is managed, stored and protected by the research team, in accordance with Ontario law.
If you are in a treatment study, your clinical information will be stored in CAMH’s e-Health Record system. It will be accessible to the health care team directly involved in your clinical care, as well as the research team.
Research results and conclusions shared at conferences and in published journal articles will only contain anonymized data. It will not identify any individual or health information.
If you have questions about privacy and the collection of your personal information, you may contact the CAMH Information and Privacy Office by calling 416-535-8501, ext. 33314.