Launch of Canada’s first-ever youth mental health platform will transform research and treatment


Brain Canada

MONTREAL, Oct. 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A pioneering youth mental health project will improve the overall understanding of youth mental health needs in Canada and advance new approaches to assessment and treatment. Every year, one in four young people in Canada require mental health services, making an initiative like this urgent and essential for the well-being of our young people. The “Canadian Youth Mental Health Information Platform (CYMHI)” powered by RBC Future Launch, will use open data, machine learning, and other methods to improve communication between youth and families, researchers, clinicians, and other service providers with diverse mental health backgrounds and specializations.

A dedicated research team received a $5.13 million grant to create this platform to optimize mental health with and for youth across Canada. Generous funding was provided by RBC Future Launch, Power Corporation of Canada and the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF), an innovative agreement between the Government of Canada, through Health Canada, and Brain Canada.

Led by Dr. Sean Hill, Director of the Krembil Center for Neuroinformatics and Principal Investigator at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the team brings together various organizations across the country, including academic institutions, community mental health services Foundry Hospitals and Youth and Family Advisories, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario and other integrated youth services.

The Insight Platform will provide an interactive web portal for youth, family members, clinicians, service providers, researchers and policy makers to access shared data, analytics and AI tools to optimize healthcare mental. The portal will allow users to find data and link information from community and school prevention programs, youth mental health services and clinical research studies. The portal will also provide access to AI-powered services to help users navigate mental health services, personalized tools to monitor mental health, identify risk and recommend services, and an interactive atlas of mental health. demand and availability of youth mental health services to guide service providers and policy makers.

“Through this project, we are providing a cutting-edge computing platform that serves as the foundation for improving the mental health of young people across the country, and especially young people,” notes Hill. “This will facilitate high-impact research and the development of mental health approaches for young people that would otherwise not be possible.”

“CYMHI is a fantastic development to empower young people and initiatives involving young people to take ownership of the way forward for the future implementation of mental health services,” says Suchayte Bali, Youth Engagement Coordinator at Foundry. “At the local level, this can enable many youth-led nonprofits to better understand what supports are needed in their communities, now backed by machine learning data from across Canada.

“Currently 9 out of 10 provinces are funding services with research components, BC cannot learn from New Brunswick and Ontario lacks evidence from Saskatchewan etc. says Steve Mathias, member of CYMHI’s leadership team and Chief Executive Officer of Providence. Health Care and leader of Foundry, a network of centers across British Columbia that provides youth with health and wellness resources, services and supports, in-person and virtually. “It’s about bringing everyone together to share and exchange what we experience and learn.”

Mental illness disproportionately affects young people between the ages of 15 and 29 worldwide. It accounts for about half of the overall burden of disease in this age group, making it the leading cause of disability in Canada.

“More than ever, brain research is essential to help us, as a community, recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its effects on the brain and our mental health,” said Dr. Viviane Poupon, President and CEO of Brain Canada. “We need to invest in projects like these that will have real impacts on the brain health of young people in Canada.

“The stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a disproportionate impact on the mental health of young people in Canada. With so many children and young people still struggling, it is critical that we accelerate our efforts to ensure young people have access to appropriate supports when and where they need them,” said the Honorable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister. of health. “This groundbreaking mental health platform will continue to improve youth mental health services by listening to young people to base our response on a much better understanding of young people’s priorities, needs and treatment approaches.

“It’s important to us that young people across Canada have the best chance to thrive and reach their full potential,” said Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact and Innovation, RBC. “Through our partnership with Brain Canada, we are focused on increasing and accelerating access to services for youth struggling with mental health issues, while facilitating digital solutions for practitioners and researchers. .

“At Power Corporation, we recognize how critical it is to strengthen access to mental health services and supports for young Canadians and their families, wherever they live. We are proud to be able to support the Canadian Youth Mental Health Insight (CYMHI) platform. This cutting-edge digital platform and pan-Canadian partnership between researchers and practitioners promises to fill gaps in support and ultimately improve the quality of youth mental health care in all regions of the country,” said Paul Genest, Senior Vice President, Power Corporation of Canada.

This project has received funding through Brain Canada’s Youth Mental Health Platform 2021 open call, powered by RBC Future Launch, with generous support from Power Corporation of Canada.

Funding for Brain Canada’s Youth Mental Health Platform has been made possible through the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF), an innovative agreement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and the Brain Canada Foundation.

For more information:
Melissa Arauz
Brain Canada
[email protected]


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