April 25, 2012 - Respected child advocate, the Hon. Margaret McCain, OC, ONB, has today committed a $10 million gift to enhance - and better coordinate - mental health initiatives for children and youth at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and across Ontario.
This investment will establish the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health at CAMH and act as a catalyst for system-wide improvements benefitting young people and their families. The Centre will support a search for an internationally recognized leader in child and youth mental health to guide the expansion of treatment services and new research initiatives at CAMH. As well, the Centre will strengthen partnerships to improve coordination of services across the province.
For Margaret McCain, this gift to CAMH builds on her life-long commitment to improving the lives of children and families. "It is well understood that the first signs of mental illness often appear in young children and youth. By investing today in CAMH, my late husband, Wallace, and I believe that early intervention and access to expert care will provide real hope to families for the future," said Mrs. McCain, former lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick and co-author of three influential Early Years Study reports into early childhood learning, in 1999, 2007 and 2011.
Among the top priorities for CAMH is recruiting world-class leadership for the program. "This gift will help us recruit experts, harness our resources, break down existing silos of service and strengthen partnerships to improve care for children and youth," said CAMH CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn.
The McCain gift will help address gaps in the system for children and youth by supporting a broad range of initiatives, including:
- Recruiting much-needed specialists in the field.
- Improving access to integrated mental health and addiction services for youth, a critical need for approx. 60 per cent of youth in crisis. This summer, CAMH will open in stages a new provincial inpatient unit for youth with concurrent mental illness and addiction issues linked to an intensive day treatment and transitional support program to help youth successfully reintegrate into the community.
- Supporting a new Youth Crisis Intervention Team, providing specialized care for young people who seek help at CAMH's Emergency Department.
- Strengthening knowledge transfer between CAMH and other partners.
"Having the confidence of such a respected life-long advocate for children underscores CAMH's value as a trusted leader within the mental health system as well as our capacity to initiate system-wide improvements in the service of children, youth and families," said Darrell Louise Gregersen, President and CEO, CAMH Foundation. "CAMH is deeply committed to ensuring that no child or young person in crisis is left with nowhere to turn."