November 28, 2011 – Today, the one in five Canadians living with mental illness received a monumental signal of support and hope for the future with a $30 million gift from the Campbell family to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). As the largest private donation ever to a hospital for mental health and addiction research in Canada, this transformative gift will fund pioneering research under the auspices of the new Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute.
The new institute – building on CAMH’s strength as Canada’s largest academic health science centre dedicated to mental illness and addiction – will focus on interdisciplinary research to deliver early detection methods, effective new treatments and better systems of care for the millions of people worldwide who struggle with mental illness or addiction.
The Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute will attract and retain leading researchers from around the world, and accelerate discoveries in the areas of mood disorders, addictions, schizophrenia and cognitive impairment. The vision is a future where suicide is no longer the second leading cause of death for youth, where disabling depression is a thing of the past, and where an understanding of neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration will produce remedies for autism and Alzheimer’s.
“We are so deeply grateful to the Campbell family for their leadership, their commitment and their desire to fuel research and discovery that will have an enormous impact in an essential area of health care. This gift recognizes the strength and the potential of CAMH’s research team to deliver breakthroughs for generations to come,” says Darrell Louise Gregersen, President and CEO, CAMH Foundation. “With incredible support from the Campbells and corporate leaders such as Bell, there is undeniable momentum to transform lives and bring a future of new possibilities in this field. Brain science is now at the tipping point and it is breathtaking to imagine what lies ahead.”
The gift was made by the daughters of the late Audrey Campbell and their families, who are making history through generous philanthropy in medical research. Building on CAMH’s record of innovation and discovery in mental health and addictions, the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute will allow CAMH to:
- Attract global talent to a powerful team focused on understanding the critical pathways and circuits in the brain that are disrupted in mental illness and addiction
- Equip those scientists with state-of-the-art technology fully dedicated to brain science
- Invest in emerging fields and lines of inquiry in diagnostics, treatments and prevention strategies e.g. pioneering and applying specialized techniques in imaging, optogenetics and bioinformatics
“We’re at an incredible moment in history,” says Dr. Bruce Pollock, CAMH Vice-President Research. “We recognize that many serious mental illnesses are disruptions of brain circuits. We need to unravel those circuits and understand how best to ‘retune’ them to help people stay healthy and live well. Thanks to the Campbell family, we will develop new approaches to detecting risk of illness, improving diagnoses and developing effective treatments.”
For Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH, this tremendous gift offers an undeniable statement of support for CAMH’s outstanding research enterprise.
Says Dr. Zahn: “Propelled by the generosity and vision of the Campbell family, research that sheds light on the brain biology of mental illness is our most promising pathway to progress. If we can identify how brain cells and circuits are disrupted at an early stage in childhood or youth, we can find new ways to preempt the development of debilitating conditions and change the lives of millions of people in generations to come.”
Mental illness touches all Canadians:
- One in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime
- The lives of people with mental illness are 20 years shorter than the national average
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canada’s young people
- Mental illness is the number one cause of workplace disability in Canada. Every day, half a million Canadians are absent from work due to mental illness and addictions
- Mental illness costs the Canadian economy a staggering $51 billion annually, including direct medical costs, lost productivity, and reduced quality of life
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addictions.
CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.
CAMH Foundation raises funds to support CAMH’s excellent patient care, insightful research and innovative programs to better understand, treat and prevent mental illness and addiction.
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