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ACCESS Canada: The Douglas Institute at the heart of the future in youth care

This news release is available in French.

Montral, JUNE 13, 2014 It is with great pride that the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University announced today that Dr. Ashok Malla and his team will be leading the ACCESS Canada project, a major Canada-wide, five year and $ 25 M initiative jointly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF).

Officially launched on Friday in Montreal, the ACCESS Canada project consists of a Canada-wide research network within the recently launched TRAM- Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health. Its goal is to use research evidence to bring about positive changes to the way we care for young people (age 11 to 25) with all forms of mental illness. It will seek to fix a gap in health care nation-wide by developing and implementing strategies to ensure more young people have quick access to youth-friendly and flexible mental health services. Its effectiveness will be tested across many provinces. Ultimately, ACCESS Canada could transform the way mental health care is provided to young people all across the country.

As Director of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP-Montral) at the Douglas Institute, Professor at McGill University and Canada Research Chair in Early Psychosis, Dr. Malla has developed an exceptional expertise in the field.

The success of the model of early intervention developed and tested in PEPP-Montreal, which integrates service, training and research activities -- has facilitated our leadership of ACCESS. The new five-year project will target all mental health problems in youth and all levels of severity, with special attention to populations at high risk, such as youth who are homeless or living in indigenous communities. ACCESS is based on shared values, driven by the needs of youth and their families, incorporates many new innovative elements of early intervention, and involves the participation of multiple stakeholders and communities in six provinces, indigenous communities, and one territory.

"Funded through a ground-breaking and visionary partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) 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", said Dr. Ashok Malla. "This will be achieved through innovation in early identification, rapid and flexible access, and appropriate care that is engaging, compassionate, sensitive and evidence-informed", he added. "Our work in early intervention at the Douglas Institute over the past 11 years has prepared us well to lead this national initiative. Success of ACCESS Canada is likely to lead to large scale transformation of youth mental health services in Canada".

Lynne McVey, Chief Executive Officer of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and Associate Professor at McGill University, both endorsed and congratulated Dr. Malla and his team: "We are very grateful to The Graham Boeckh Foundation for their leadership and to the CIHR for its forward-thinking and matching support. The future of mental health care is through early detection and prevention. The new ACCESS Canada program will have a transformative impact on youth mental health services both in Quebec and Canada. At the Douglas Institute, we are very proud of Dr. Ashok Malla and his team for their leadership in sharing their proven approach with others across the country through ACCESS Canada.", added Lynne McVey.

Contact: Florence Meney
Douglas Mental Health University Institute

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