Government of Canada Invests in CAMH-led Mental Health Initiative in Correctional Facilities


Government of Canada Invests in CAMH-led Mental Health Initiative in Correctional Facilities

$1.6 million in funding for the International Collaboration for Excellence and Innovation in Mental Health in Corrections (I-CEIsMIC)

TORONTO, June 6, 2017 – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) will mobilize an international network of interdisciplinary leaders to address the gaps in mental health services for inmates, thanks to a $1.6 million grant announced today on behalf of federal Health Minister Jane Philpott.

In partnership with the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital/BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services in Coquitlam, BC, CAMH will establish the International Collaboration for Excellence and Innovation in Mental Health in Corrections (I-CEIsMIC) to work with correctional facilities around the world. This is a new International Knowledge Translation Platform, part of the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) suite of programs.

 “The future is here, we’re just not doing it,” says Dr. Sandy Simpson, Chief of Forensic Psychiatry at CAMH and the Scientific Director of I-CEIsMIC. “The core evidence in terms of evidence-based best practices has been out there for many years.”

Dr. Sandy Simpson

Dr. Sandy Simpson

The rate of serious mental illness among persons in custody is up to six times higher than the general population. The core mission of I-CEIsMIC is to help correctional facilities in Canada and abroad implement strategies that have proven to be successful in delivering better mental health outcomes for inmates.

“Although we know a lot about what good care should be, the gap between knowing what should be done and what is actually being done has been too wide,” says. Dr. Simpson. “Our primary aim is to bridge that gap.”

“We know that a significant percentage of incarcerated persons have complex, concurrent mental health needs that require coordinated, evidence based care. Too often such care is not accessible to those in need,” states Dr. Johann Brink, Vice President of Medical Affairs & Research for BC Forensic Psychiatric Services. “Best practice models of care are available and ready for implementation. We aim to develop toolkits and implementation strategies to make such care available to persons in custody in several correctional institutions internationally.”

I-CEIsMIC plans to provide support and guidance to 15 correctional facilities internationally over the first two years of the program.  Using core elements of the evidence-based STAIR (screening, triage, assessment, intervention and reintegration) model, I-CEIsMIC will work with these institutions to improve outcomes in a wide range of ways.  Including:

  • Assessing the mental health needs of inmates more rapidly
  • Providing care more quickly
  • Reducing the rate of segregation
  • Lowering the rates of violence, self-harm and suicide
  • Better access to rehabilitation programs
  • Better integration with local community mental health resources at the time of release.

“We want to develop templates and toolkits that help in the design and implantation of correctional mental health services, including ways to measure whether they are successful,” says Dr. Simpson.

 “We look forward to collaborating with CAMH and our international partners to make enhanced mental health care a reality for all persons in custody – in Canada and internationally,” says Dr. Brink.

B. Mario Pinto, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Chair, Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Steering Committee s added, “Science has no boundaries – just frontiers. Successful innovation requires us to take a global perspective. We must collaborate with the best talent, whether it is found next door, across the country or around the world. I-CEIsMIC is designed to do exactly that.”

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world’s leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please follow @CAMHnews on Twitter

For further information:

Sean O’Malley
Media Relations
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
416 535 8501 x36015

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