CIHR and Graham Boeckh Foundation launch mental health research network

News Release

June 13, 2014 – Montreal, Quebec – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Mr. J. Anthony Boeckh, Chair of the Graham Boeckh Foundation, today announced the launch of ACCESS Canada, a research network developed by TRAM – Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health – a partnership of CIHR and GBF.

ACCESS Canada’s goal is to use research evidence to bring about positive change, within five years, to the way we care for young people with mental illness.

In Canada, one-in-five people experience a mental illness in their lifetime. However, it is young Canadians that suffer the most, with 75% of mental health problems and illnesses beginning prior to the age of 25, and more than 50% beginning between the ages of 11 and 25. Unfortunately, adolescents and youth have the least access to mental health care, as existing services are designed mostly for younger children and older adults.

ACCESS Canada will seek to fix this gap in health care. It will develop strategies to ensure that more young people are connected to the mental health services they need. It will move research evidence to the point of care, to ensure that young people receive the best possible treatments available. Ultimately, ACCESS Canada will improve health outcomes for adolescents and youth by transforming the way mental health care is provided in Canada.

Quick Facts

  • The ACCESS Canada research network developed by TRAM is the first-ever network launched under Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR).
  • SPOR is a coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners – patients, researchers, industry, health care providers, and decision-makers – all dedicated to the integration of research into care.
  • SPOR is about ensuring that the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time.
  • The Graham Boeckh Foundation is committed to improving mental health care in Canada by strategically leading and funding projects in basic research, research translation and community outreach.
  • Through CIHR, the Government of Canada is supporting TRAM with $12.5 million, over five years. The Graham Boeckh Foundation is providing matching funding of $12.5 million, for a total investment of $25 million.
  • The Government of Canada is the largest single investor in health research in Canada. Currently, CIHR is supporting more than 13,200 health researchers and trainees across Canada.


“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians with mental illness. The Network we are launching today will assist the provinces and territories by bringing research innovations to the front lines of health care, where they can improve health outcomes for adolescents and youth. Creating innovation through research is important for our Government, and I applaud the researchers, patients, families, and other stakeholders involved in this important initiative.”

Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

“The ACCESS Canada Network is about transformative research – ensuring that research evidence informs health care practice and policy. This inaugural SPOR Network also marks a new way of doing business. It involves putting patients and their families first. The Graham Boeckh Foundation has proven an invaluable partner in this enterprise, both in shaping the research agenda and contributing resources to maximize the impact of our research investments.”

Dr. Alain Beaudet
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“The launching of the ACCESS Canada Network is an amazing new development that will play a critical role in transforming Canada’s mental health system. The focus is on access, treatments and improved outcomes for young people. It is a core initiative in GBF’s overall mission and strategy to partner with public and private sector entities dedicated to the transformation of Canada’s mental health sector with a clear focus on outcomes.”

J. Anthony Boeckh
Chair, Graham Boeckh Foundation

“Funded through a ground-breaking and visionary partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Graham Boekch Foundation, ACCESS Canada unites youth, families, service providers, researchers, policymakers, and community organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate a model of transformation to improve youth mental health services in Canada. This will be achieved through innovation in early identification, rapid and flexible access, and appropriate care that is engaging, compassionate, sensitive and evidence-informed. We will demonstrate the effectiveness, feasibility and scalability of this transformation at multiple urban, rural, and remote aboriginal community sites across Canada. We will also begin to address special needs of youth in aboriginal communities or those with poor access to mental health care in urban centres, such as the homeless and those in contact with the criminal justice system. The work conducted by the ACCESS Canada network over the next five years will serve as a model for youth mental health service transformation across the country.”

Dr. Ashok Malla
Principal Investigator, ACCESS Canada

Director of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP-Montréal) at the Douglas Institute, Professor at McGill University, and Canada Research Chair in Early Psychosis

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David Coulombe
Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Joelle Sholzberg
Manager of Communications
Graham Boeckh Foundation
514-904-0551 ext. 248


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