CAMH is set to make a once-in-a-lifetime leap forward for mental health, thanks to an unprecedented $100 -million gift from an anonymous donor. The largest donation to mental health in Canadian history will create the Discovery Fund, turbo-charging CAMH’s efforts to transform the lives of people with mental illness.
“Quite simply, the Discovery Fund is an injection of wild, wild hope into the CAMH promise to bring justice to people with mental illness,” says Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH President and CEO. “These experts and experts-in-waiting will do the best work of their lives while they’re here. They’ll put their imagination to the test in an inclusive academic home where daring and passionate scientists drive research across all pillars of knowledge.”
The Fund will fuel research and innovation focused on understanding disease mechanisms, effective diagnosis and testing, and new ways to predict, prevent and recover from mental illness. It will enable CAMH to attract and activate the next generation of leading early- and mid-career scientists at a time when many struggle to secure funding, and provide support for high-risk, high-reward ideas that will bring new treatments to more people sooner.
That’s good news for people like Shelley Hofer, who has struggled with crippling depression most of her life. Over the past 20 years, she has tried every treatment imaginable, without much relief. Only recently, at the age of 43, has Shelley been able to live a healthier life, thanks to clinical research at CAMH.
“I would have died if I didn’t get this help,” explains Shelley. “This treatment—and the research that goes into it—has changed my life in so many ways.”
Through the Fund’s discovery platform, people like Shelley will be engaged as partners in new knowledge creation, participating actively in research to advance care.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” says Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, CAMH’s Physician-in-Chief. “Working closely with clinicians, scientists, and people with lived experience, we’ll develop new treatments and service models to improve care and outcomes for people of all ages experiencing mental illness, now and in the future. Canadians are counting on us to create a new beginning through discovery and innovation. Through the Discovery Fund, we will deliver.”