Almost as long as the modern CAMH has existed, the McCain family has been an enduring and loyal ally. Specifically, the family has played a key role in helping CAMH fulfill its dream of transforming the Queen Street campus into a global hub of mental health care, research, education and innovation.
While costs related to direct patient care are government-funded, all hospitals rely on donations to enhance their mandates. Philanthropic support is crucial in supporting the construction of dignified spaces where patients can recover, while at the same time, funding cutting-edge research and discoveries to help save lives today and in the future.
That is where the McCain family has stepped in, time and time again. The recently opened McCain Complex Care & Recovery Centre on Queen Street West was named after them, in honour of their outstanding commitment to CAMH.
“To me, the building symbolizes hope. I’ve always been an optimist, and this building is another step forward in achieving positive future outcomes,” says Michael McCain. "The building represents a proud commitment of resources and furthering investment in knowledge that will benefit countless people. It is a sign for anyone who has experienced mental health challenges and addiction that they matter, and there is a bright future.”
This level of philanthropic support is especially significant for CAMH. Not that long ago, the level of stigma around mental illness prevented many people from publicly supporting mental health causes. When CAMH recognized a generous gift from the McCain family to support the Queen Street Redevelopment Project in 2009, it marked the first time in our history that a building had been named for a family, signalling an important shift in public attitudes towards mental illness and addiction.
“By supporting CAMH in the early days, when mental health wasn’t talked about as openly, and it was cloaked in more of a stigma, we wanted to encourage other families, businesses and leaders to come forward,” says McCain. “As a family, we believe mental health and addiction research and treatments are still materially underfunded. We hope we can continue to ignite the movement that is gaining momentum in broader society. If stigma is holding people back from speaking up about their challenges, it will only slow the progress required to make so many people’s lives better."
Ultimately, says McCain, what makes him most proud to be a supporter of CAMH has been the opportunity to see first-hand the work his philanthropy supports.
“Almost every family in Canada has been touched by mental health or addiction challenges, and it is a cause that has long since been underserved. Our family now has three generations working to support mental health, and it is our way of showing solidarity,” says McCain. “CAMH is a world-class institution, playing a unique role in creating hope for the prevention, treatment and eventual cures for mental illness. We are so proud to invest with CAMH, to continue inspiring innovation and progress.”