The Douglas receives new support from the RBC Foundation to support youth mental health

May 03, 2023

The Douglas has received a major investment from the RBC Foundation to create a family intervention program for young patients at the Douglas’ Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. This new collaboration will improve the quality and frequency of engagement with families and the support network of youth who seek help on an ad-hoc and ongoing basis, enabling them to better navigate these challenges in their lives.


Dr. Lena Palaniyappan was recently appointed the Inaugural Director of the Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health amid an increase in youth mental health care demand. The observed increase puts additional pressure on the services offered by the Douglas Institute and highlights the urgent need to improve mental health care for youth in Quebec.

“Several programs at the Douglas Institute make family involvement a central part of their clinical work by holding regular family meetings, support groups and information sessions about mental illness to educate loved ones. The support of our corporate partners is essential in order to unify the efforts of all our teams and to strengthen the help we already provide to young people and their families.”

Dr. Lena Palaniyappan, Director, Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the well-being of young people in society, RBC has announced a donation to the youth mental health teams at the Douglas Institute.

“Supporting the mental well-being of young people is in line with our values at RBC and our desire to continue to have a positive impact in our societies, where the needs are. It is therefore natural for us to be able to support the expertise of the youth mental health teams at the Douglas Institute through our donation, so that they in turn can achieve their mission: to improve the mental health of all, today and tomorrow.”

Rosie Caputo, Regional Vice-President, Quebec Private Banking, RBC
Dr. Lena Palaniyappan (Director, Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health; left) and Dr. Gustavo Turecki (Scientific Director, Douglas Research Centre; right)

The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that 20% of young Canadians are affected by a mental health disorder or mental illness. The majority of symptoms of these psychiatric disorders appear before the age of 25. Scientific Director for the Douglas Research Centre and Chief of Psychiatry, CIUSSS Montreal West Island, Dr. Gustavo Turecki is enthusiastic about the clinical advances that will be made as a result of the recruitment of the specialist and the new investment.

“We are privileged to be able to benefit from the unique expertise of Dr. Palaniyappan and to receive the support of RBC Foundation, who is making an important gesture for youth mental health in Quebec. We must continue to move research and care forward in order to make discoveries that can improve the lives of young patients and allow them to recover as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Gustavo Turecki, Scientific Director, Douglas Research Centre

This new support will facilitate family navigation programs and strengthen links across various levels of care for youth by developing a digital family-positioning system. The Douglas is grateful for this support and excited about the possibilities that lie ahead in improving the mental well-being of young people.