In 2020, CAMH embarked on the first year of our new strategic plan, One CAMH, with a vision of redefining health. It is our commitment and road map to placing mental health at the centre of the health care system. Through the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, CAMH continued to inspire hope and included all voices to drive impact locally and globally. As we look back at a year in which CAMH and our community worked to redefine health, we can also look ahead to the future—one where Mental Health is Health for everyone. Our future is bright because we imagine it together.
On behalf of CAMH and CAMH Foundation, thank you for your continued support of our hospital and the cause of mental health.
In a year of significant challenge and change, CAMH has continued to drive forward our organization’s vision to redefine health. We launched a new strategic plan; we amplified and rapidly scaled up virtual care; we moved 225 patients into two new state-of-the-art buildings; we started a conversation on suicide prevention; we publicly reinforced our commitment to addressing racism and oppression in health care; and we cared for our patients, our children and elders, our friends and neighbours, and each other. We did it as One CAMH.
We will experience the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for years to come, but CAMH is a beacon of hope. Our work has never been so important. As people in our community and around the world grieve, cope and heal, CAMH can help with a path forward.
The CAMH values of courage, respect and excellence, and our dedication to the people we serve, have guided us through many challenges this year. These difficult moments have become touchstones along our journey toward a future where the statement that Mental Health is Health is a reality for everyone.
Dr. Catherine Zahn
President & CEO
President & CEO
Chair, Board of Trustees
Chair, Board of Directors
Inspiring hope through care, innovation and advocacy
As Canada’s leading mental health hospital, CAMH has risen to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff and community have stepped up to help Canadians feel supported and take care of their mental health during these difficult times and beyond.
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COVID-19 Resource Hub
At the onset of the pandemic, CAMH quickly mobilized to develop a COVID-19 Resource Hub filled with evidence-based resources, tips and strategies to help Canadians, including health care professionals, manage their mental health during the pandemic and beyond. The hub has also been adapted to a mobile app to provide on-the-go support to people in need.
Apart. Not Alone.
CAMH shared our COVID-19 resources with the world through a new awareness campaign: Apart. Not Alone. This inspiring message offered Canadians help and hope at a time when they needed it most and has become a rallying cry over the past year. The Premier of Manitoba even shared one of our ads with his province. In addition to providing mental health resources, the campaign showed our community and the country that we will get through this together.
CAMH staff has gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep our patients and community safe. Over the past year, our supporters have responded by finding ways to lift them up and rally together. They said “thank you” to staff and showed their support to patients with a celebratory motorcade parade.
Globally, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. Nearly 11 Canadians die by suicide per day. These are the stats, and it’s time we change them. As an organization, CAMH has an opportunity—and a responsibility—to talk about suicide in a way that hasn’t been done before.
On World Suicide Prevention Day, CAMH launched Not suicide. Not today. This campaign of help and hope tells real stories of strength and resilience and highlights the work CAMH’s globally renowned clinicians and researchers are doing to prevent suicide.
Hope app for suicide prevention
Hope by CAMH is a mobile app that features suicide prevention information, tools and crisis resources to support and guide individuals when they are experiencing thoughts of suicide. It was created entirely in-house by CAMH staff from across the hospital who pitched the idea at the 2019 Innovation Expo, winning the grand prize. The app has been downloaded more than 5,000 times on iOS and Android since it was launched on September 30, 2020.
In November 2020, CAMH completed the largest phase of its bold redevelopment with the opening of the McCain Complex Care & Recovery Building and Crisis & Critical Care Building. These state-of-the-art facilities embody everything Mental Health is Health means: integrating care, research and education in one location; creating inclusive, respectful and dignified spaces for recovery; and connecting CAMH to our community.
<span style="font-size: 32px;">These new buildings will revolutionize mental health care by offering dignified spaces for CAMH patients to heal and recover, and provide a safe and generative space for CAMH staff to work. They reflect a bold vision and are also a powerful symbol of CAMH’s move away from institutionalization towards community integration for the people we serve.</span>
Dr. Catherine Zahn, President & CEO, CAMH
Including all voices and finding those that are missing
This year, CAMH reinforced our commitment to improving easy access to mental health care and placing diversity, equity and inclusion at the centre of our work. We aspire to create a world where Mental Health is Health for everyone.
Rapid expansion of virtual care
With more people reaching out for mental health support, CAMH was able to leverage our leadership in telemental health to deliver timely virtual care to those in need. Through virtual care, patients have more flexibility, shorter wait times, seamless communication with clinicians and the ability to receive care securely no matter where they live.
CAMH’s new model of youth psychosis care gets support from the Toor Family Foundation
For the past four years, CAMH has led a collaboration to provide a new model of care and treatment for young people experiencing psychosis and bipolar disorder throughout Ontario. The innovative model, called NAVIGATE, recently received generous support from the Toor Family Foundation.
Introducing the CAMH Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder
CAMH introduced the Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder (CYBD). Previously located at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, CYBD is a world leader in the field with a goal of improving outcomes for teenagers with bipolar disorder through cutting-edge treatment, research, education and advocacy.
In February 2021, CAMH launched Dismantling Anti-Black Racism, a strategy that includes 22 actions to decrease anti-Black racism at CAMH by 2022. Anti-Black racism has traumatic impacts that increase mental illness in Black populations. Black people in the Greater Toronto Area are more likely to report poor mental health than people who are not Black, and Black people in Ontario are more likely to access mental health care through emergency or police services.
Outlined in the strategy, which will continue to evolve over time, are clear and measureable goals to dismantle anti-Black racism at CAMH. The strategy also highlights key partners, both internal and external, critical to achieving success.
<span style="font-size: 32px;">Growing evidence from Canadian studies and from our own analysis of CAMH data shows differences in the risk of mental illness and outcomes of care for Black populations. Unfair and unjust treatment have no place in our mental health system and CAMH is committed to ensuring that anti-Black racism is eliminated.</span>
Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Director of Health Equity, CAMH
The gift of connection
A $300,000 gift from Donna and Gary Slaight enabled CAMH to purchase more than 500 tablets so that patients could stay connected with loved ones and their care teams during the pandemic.
While celebrations looked different in 2020, the CAMH community found ways to come together for special events including Pride and Caribana. CAMH staff and patients celebrated the 2SLGBTQ+ community with virtual events throughout June and gathered for a physically distanced Caribbean outdoor celebration in July.
Impact for change in our communities
CAMH continues to advance work that improves outcomes for patients today and transforms mental health care for future generations. Our impact is local, national and global.
CAMH once again ranked as Canada's top mental health research hospital
CAMH was once again recognized as Canada's leading mental health research hospital by Research Infosource in its 2020 rankings of Canada's Top 40 Research Hospitals.
Twenty years after a team of Indigenous social workers and an Elder formed CAMH’s first team to support the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients, CAMH officially launched Shkaabe Makwa—a unique and integrated Centre that aims to transform health outcomes through the advancement of research, training and innovative healing models that harmonize traditional knowledge and medical expertise.
<span style="font-size: 32px;">We believe that culture is central to healing and wellness—and we are committed to bringing about change in ways that respect and honour traditional knowledge and community expertise.</span>
Dr. Renee Linklater, Senior Director, Shkaabe Makwa
Understanding the mental health impacts of the pandemic
<span style="font-size: 32px;">Our family is proud to invest in brain imaging at CAMH. The human brain is the final frontier, and imaging will help us get more people the right diagnosis and treatment so they can recover from mental illness.</span>
CAMH advocates for people in crisis
Several events this year have exposed the tragic outcomes that can occur when people with mental illness experience a crisis in the community and are not able to get the care that they need. Racism and anti-Black racism compound these crisis interactions. In June 2020, CAMH released a statement advocating for a new way forward in crisis care.
Suicide rate for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders over 20 times higher than the general population
This past year, Dr. Juveria Zaheer was the lead author on a study that shows the suicide rate for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) is over 20 times higher the general population. “What this study teaches us is that although people with SSD are at higher risk for suicide, we can target those at the highest risk with changes in policy and treatment,” said Dr. Zaheer, Psychiatrist and Medical Education Lead at CAMH’s Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan Emergency Department, as well as a Clinician Scientist in the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research.
CAMH Foundation, the fundraising arm of CAMH, aims to maximize the impact of every dollar raised so it is directed to the people and programs who need it most. For the year that ended March 31, 2021, CAMH reported a fundraising ratio of just 28 per cent expenses to revenue. That means for every $1 spent fundraising, we were able to raise $3.52. As a point of comparison, Revenue Canada guidelines consider a fundraising ratio of up to 35 per cent as acceptable practice.
Thank you to our supporters
Thank you to the many people who continue to share their time, effort, passion and commitment with CAMH. You are driving the mental health movement forward, raising funds for life-saving research, care and education, and helping CAMH create a world where Mental Health is Health.