GBF Quarterly Newsletter Volume 3.1
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Greetings! Wishing you a prosperous year filled with much happiness and health.

In case you missed it, you may want to watch Tony Boeckh’s interview on CBC News, where he discusses the need for radical reform in the youth mental health care system. 

Also, be sure to checkout the new website for the 3rd International Conference on Youth Mental Health.

Finally, stay tuned! We will be revamping the GBF website in the coming months. We look forward to your feedback.

Kindest regards,

Joelle Sholzberg
Communications Manager 

In this issue:
Dr. Alain Beaudet and Tony Boeckh at the launch of TRAM
Guest Blog
MQ’s Cynthia Joyce discusses the international mental health research landscape
Dr. Insel presenting at the GBF Annual Dinner
Access Update
Learn the latest about the pan-Canadian network for youth mental health care from Dr. Ashok Malla
Dr. Insel presenting at the GBF Annual Dinner
GBF is Recruiting
Read about our newest job posting for a Program Director
Dr. Insel presenting at the GBF Annual Dinner
Call for Proposals
Environmental scan for international best practices in mental health for young people
Guest Blog

Putting the World to Work to Solve Mental Health Problems
By: Cynthia Joyce

"The new International Alliance will help research funders put the world to work on the problem of mental illness."                                         

In the UK, we are noting small, but important improvements in the public dialog about mental health – its impact on national productivity, the challenges of service provision, and the day-to-day struggle of living with a mental health problem.  Of course, stigma remains an issue, but public discussion is encouraging openness like never before.  There seem to be corresponding improvements in public attitudes, as tracked by our friends at the Time2Change campaign, giving us hope for meaningful changes in society.1

What’s missing in all of these discussions?  Research.  Research to deliver better treatments, research to help us prioritise prevention measures.  Research is the action needed - beyond dialog – to help us make lasting change in society. Patients, families and politicians alike need to be more aware of not only the need for more (and better) research, but that there is an opportunity to make major improvements in treatment and care that can affect their lives. 

That is why my charity, MQ, was so delighted to join the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders last year.  Founded and supported by the Graham Boeckh Foundation, this organisation is working to identify and address research issues in mental health.  From awareness to impact measurement – the work of the organisation will facilitate more effective and efficient research efforts on a global basis.  Last November, the members of the Alliance voted to formalize the organisation and set goals for the future.2 Our group is small, but includes the major funders of mental health research worldwide.  And our diversity brings with it the potential to learn from each other and to foster collaboration across every discipline of work from basic bench research to the social sciences. 

There could not be a more important time for this kind of joining up of research interests in the mental health field.  Thanks to new tools ranging from low cost genetic screening to mobile technologies, we have the potential to discern and understand the bio-psycho-social factors associated with mental illness. Access to “Big Data” methodologies can help us visualize patterns and trends at the population level that will inform new strategies for care.  These tools should help us innovate to improve quality and innovate to better manage care and costs of mental health problems. 

MQ is a new charity3, set up in 2013 to start to build, for the first-time, wide public support for mental health research in the UK. This will be critical in ensuring the sustained long-term investment needed to take advantage of these exciting advances.

But it takes more than one charity or research institution to truly realize this opportunity.  In fact, it will take more than the efforts of one country.  The new International Alliance will help research funders put the world to work on the problem of mental illness

1.    Sara Evans-Lacko, Claire Henderson, and Graham Thornicroft
Public knowledge, attitudes and behaviour regarding people with mental illness in England 2009-2012 BJP April 2013 202:s51-s57; doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.112.112979
2.   International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders Charter 2014 on file at the Graham Boeckh Foundation

Cynthia Joyce is Chief Executive of MQ:Transforming Mental Health, a London-based charity working to develop public support for investments in mental health research. She can be reached at

Access Canada 

By: Dr. Ashok Malla


On June 13, 2014, CIHR and Graham Boeckh Foundation jointly announced ACCESS-Canada
as the recipient of the $25 M TRAM grant. This five year project will implement and evaluate transformation in youth (11-25) mental health services across Canada. Adolescent/young adult Connections to Community-driven Early Strength-based and Stigma-free services (ACCESS) is a multidisciplinary network of stakeholder groups across six provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta) and one territory (Northwest Territories) in Canada. The 12 sites selected for ACCESS transformation include CASA Services and the University of Edmonton (AB), the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (SK), Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (ON), Cree Nation of Mistissini (QC), CSSS Dorval-Lachine-Lasalle (Montreal, QC), CLSC Park Extension (Montreal, QC), Dans la Rue-CHUM-Montreal Homeless Youth Network (Montreal, QC), Youth Protection (Montreal, QC), Eskasoni First Nation (Cape Breton, NS), Inuvialuit Settlement Region (NT), the province of New Brunswick and Nunavik (QC). This network represents a spectrum of needs and service availability, allowing ACCESS to address mental health needs of Canadian youth from various geographic, linguistic/ethnic, socio-economic, cultural and situational backgrounds. With youth at the centre, ACCESS stakeholders include youth, families/carers, community organizations, service providers, researchers, and policy/decision makers.
ACCESS is founded on the understanding that mental health reform must be based on service and sector integration driven by a youth-oriented culture that transforms the language and perceptions around mental illness as well as the actual delivery of service.


ACCESS service objectives include the deployment of early case identification strategies, a reduction in wait times in order to ensure timely access to help, provision of high quality care and improvement in continuity of care by eliminating the transition at 18 years old. This transformation will be achieved by implementing evidence-based interventions using innovation in service delivery, including features such as single-point contact, multiple portals of entry via online technology, well-publicized youth spaces staffed by trained professionals, peer support groups/activities and knowledge transfer.
Progress to date includes in-depth site analyses, in collaboration with sites, and several site visits. ACCESS governance structure consists of an executive committee (8 members) with youth, family, indigenous and site as well as stakeholder representations, and a supervisory Governing Council (12 members), representing a wealth of experience, expertise and commitment to mental health from across the country. The ACCESS Youth and Family Councils, with active members from across Canada, have been established and have begun active participation in the transformation process within ACCESS. The ACCESS-Canada core team meets weekly to facilitate the development of the service transformation as well as research components of the project. The hiring of central staff for ACCESS is well on its way with several coordinators and administrative staff already hired. The research plan is being finalized. Last, but not least, ACCESS is co-leading the 3rd International Youth Mental Association Congress to be held in Montréal in October 2015.

Dr. Ashok Malla is the principal investigator at ACCESS Canada. He is also a Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, where he holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Early Psychosis, and the Director of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP-Montreal) at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.

GBF is Recruiting

We are looking to recruit a Program Director to join our team.  The responsibilities of this role are two-fold: The Foundation is currently deeply committed to several important projects and requires someone to manage a number of them, as well as to tap into and capitalize on their potential.  This will require some travel and a keen interest in the Foundation’s objectives.  The second part of this role would be to contribute to the development of new projects and/or project-related initiatives in collaboration with the existing team, as well as investigate opportunities generated by these new initiatives. For more information, please contact Diane Lee
Environmental scan for international best practices in mental health for young people aged 6-25 - Call for proposals

The Graham Boeckh Foundation, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) are pleased to announce the launch a new program. The objective of this call for proposals is to conduct an environmental scan for best practices in mental health for young people aged 6-25. The results of this scan will facilitate the creation of a thematic network in mental health for youth between the ages of 6-25 years.  

 Deadline for the submission of the application: March 31st, 2015, 5 p.m.
For a detailed description of the program and guidelines to make an application, please read more here.
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