The Douglas, a major player in Quebec’s new mental health initiatives

November 29, 2023

On November 28, Quebec announced an investment of $4.5 million in mental health research initiatives. These include 4 research projects and the Alliance en santé mentale et neurosciences, which will bring together Quebec’s three university mental health institutes, including the Douglas Research Centre (CIUSSS Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal), CERVO (CIUSSS Capitale-Nationale), and the Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal (CIUSSS Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal).

A major investment in mental health

From left to right: Julie Couture, Director of Research, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux; Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal Region; Carole Jabet, Scientific Director, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé; Carl Viel, CEO, Québec International; Berkeley Vincent, President, Janssen Inc (CNW Group/Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé).

The Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQS), in partnership with the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie (MEIE), the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) and Janssen Inc. an innovative pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, has announced the awarding of four innovative research projects and the funding of an Alliance in mental health and neuroscience.

Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, confirmed these investments of nearly $4.5 million from the public-private partnership at the Forum de l’industrie de la santé de Québec:

“By strengthening the synergy between Quebec’s research and healthcare communities, we can better respond to the needs of the population. The collaborative research initiatives announced today are in line with this objective, and will contribute to advancing our knowledge of mental health.”
Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation, and Energie; Minister responsable for the Regional Economic Development; Minister responsible for the Metropolis and region of Montreal

Quebec Mental Health Alliance

On the one hand, with funding of $2.2 million, the creation of an Alliance will enable us to structure and coordinate the efforts of the driving forces in mental health and neuroscience, in order to optimize the potential for innovation and transformation, for the benefit of the health and social services network, the Quebec research ecosystem and the general public.

“Creating a culture of knowledge sharing and innovation is key to developing healthcare solutions. By collaborating with government leaders and external partners, we are able to create an environment where innovative solutions are not only encouraged but can flourish. At Janssen, our goal remains unwavering: to pave the way for tomorrow’s medicine – one partnership and one scientific breakthrough at a time. Together, we will move towards a healthier world for all.”
– Berkeley Vincent,
President of Janssen Inc.

The Alliance is made up of three of the province’s mental health and neuroscience research centers:

  • CERVO Research Centre Université Laval
  • Douglas Research Centre – CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Ile-de-Montréal – McGill University
  • Institut universitaire en santé mentale – CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Ile-de-Montréal – Université de Montréal

Investment in a Quebec-Wide Speech Bank

In addition, as part of a call for proposals launched in October 2022, four innovative research projects out of the 26 received were funded for a total of $2.3 million.

“I am delighted with the high quality of the research projects supported by funding from the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and its partners, which marks a decisive step forward for excellence in mental health in Quebec. Our commitment goes beyond current services: we aim to revolutionize our approaches through continuous improvement, rooted in science and innovation. This partnership with specialists and the centralization of technological infrastructures will significantly accelerate our approach to mental health and neuroscience care, with a direct impact on the well-being of Quebecers.”
Lionel Carmant, Minister responsable for Social services

Among these, a project proposed by Dr. Lena Palaniyappan, Much More Than Words (MOTS+) was selected. Part of the Axis 2 of the mental health initiative, entitled “Development of innovative tools and approaches to better understand illness and provide better mental health care and services”, it aims to create a Quebec-wide bank of words to develop markers that could be detected by analyzing the speech of patients at risk of developing mental disorders.

“The scientific, medical and social challenges involved in managing and maintaining good mental health in the population are major. To meet these challenges, the FRQS’s mental health research program, which is part of a sustainable health perspective, supports innovative initiatives that break with traditional approaches and have great potential for transformation and socio-economic impact for Quebec. I offer my warmest congratulations to the research teams and centers that will contribute to the advancement of knowledge and the development of promising mental health practices.”
– Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec

About the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé

The mission of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé is to support and promote excellence in research and the training of the next generation of healthcare professionals, in order to stimulate the development of knowledge and innovation. With a view to sustainable health, it promotes and provides financial support for all human health research, including basic, clinical, epidemiological, public health and health services research.

For the FRQS Press Release