Srividya N. Iyer
PhD

Division: 
Mental Health and Society

Researcher, Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychosis (PEPP-Montreal), Douglas Research Centre
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Associate Member, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University
Scientific-Clinical Director, ACCESS-Canada
Licenced Psychologist, Douglas Mental Health University Institute



Youth mental health and early intervention for psychosis, in Canada and beyond


Dr. Iyer’s research interests are in youth mental health and early intervention, especially in the early phases of psychosis, in Canada and globally. Her research aims to ensure that more young people worldwide have timely access to appropriate, youth-friendly mental healthcare and enjoy well-being and social participation. Dr. Iyer partners closely with young people, families, and communities to influence real-world practice and policy in Canada and globally. These include:

  • Development, implementation, and evaluation of models to increase youth access to timely, appropriate, and engaging care
  • Improving youth mental health outcomes
  • Early intervention, particularly for serious mental health problems such as psychosis: service models, care pathways, outcomes, and predictors
  • Program evaluation, implementation science, knowledge translation and services research using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods; and engaging diverse stakeholders (e.g., service users and their families, policy/decision makers)
  • Sociocultural context and its influence on services, outcomes, and stakeholder roles in the context of early intervention
  • Role of families/carers in mental health and mental health services
  • Mental healthcare of culturally diverse and underserved communities
  • Building sustainable, collaborative capacity within community and clinical contexts
  • Learning health systems and implementation science

Dr. Iyer’s program of research is supported by a CIHR Foundation Scheme grant (2015-22) and builds largely on the platforms provided by PEPP-Montreal, Canada’s leading early intervention program for psychosis and ACCESS Open Minds, a pan-Canadian network dedicated to improving the mental health outcomes of youths aged 11 to 25. ACCESS is the first project established under the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (2014-20).

Over the last several years, Dr. Iyer has also been pursuing a cross-cultural longitudinal study of outcomes and family factors in first-episode psychosis that is funded by the National Institutes of Health. This study involves PEPP in Montreal and the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, a mental health NGO in Chennai, India. More recently, she has been involved in additional mental health capacity building projects in India (in Kashmir, Delhi, and Chennai) and Nigeria.


  1. Hawke, L. D., Thabane, L., Wilkins, L., Mathias, S., Iyer, S., & Henderson, J. (2021). Don’t Forget the Caregivers! A Discrete Choice Experiment Examining Caregiver Views of Integrated Youth Services. The Patient-Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, 1-12.
  2. Qureshi, O., Endale, T., Ryan, G., Miguel-Esponda, G., Iyer, S.N., Eaton, J., De Silva, M., & Murphy, J. (2021). Barriers to and drivers of the implementation of global mental health projects: Service Delivery. International Journal of Mental Health Systems. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-020-00427-x 
  3. Cowan, T., Pope, M.A., Macdonald, K., Malla, A., Ferrari, M#., & Iyer, S.N# (2020). Engagement in specialized early intervention services for psychosis as an interplay between personal agency and critical structures: A qualitative study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 103583 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2020.103583 #Equal contributions. 
  4. Guinaudie, C., Mireault, C., Tan, J.*, Pelling, Y.*, Jalali, S.*, Malla, A. & Iyer, S.N. (2020). Shared decision making in a youth mental health services design and research: insights from the pan-Canadian ACCESS Open Minds network. The Patient 13(6), 653-666. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40271-020-00444-5.  Invited manuscript for shared decision-making edition.* Youth and family council members 
  5. Iyer, S.N., Malla, A., Taksal, A., Maraj, A., Mohan, G., Rangaswamy, T., Ramachandran, P., Margolese, H.C., Schmitz, N., & Joober, R. (2020). Context and contact: A comparison of patient and family engagement with early intervention services for psychosis in India and Canada. Psychological medicine. 1-10.  doi:10.1017/S0033291720003359  
  6. Iyer, S., Mustafa, S., Moro, L., Jarvis, G.E., Joober, R., Abadi, S., Casacalenda, N., Margolese, H., Abdel-Baki, A., Lepage, M., & Malla, A. (2020). Suicidality over the first five years of psychosis: Does extending early intervention have benefits? The Canadian journal of psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743720961714 
  7. Iyer, S.N., Pope, M., Jordan, G., Mohan, G., Loohuis, H., Ramachandran, R., Thara, R. & Malla, A. (2020). ShareDisk: A novel visual tool to assess perceptions about who should be responsible for supporting persons with mental health problems. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 66(4), 411–418. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764020913580
  8. MacDonald, K., Ferrari, M., Fainman-Adelman, N., & Iyer, S. N. (2020). Experiences of pathways to mental health services for young people and their carers: A qualitative meta-synthesis review. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-020-01976-9. 
  9. Iyer, S.N., Shah, J., Boksa, P., Lal, S., Joober, R., Andersson, N., Fuhrer, R., Abdel-Baki, A., Beaton, A., Reaume-Zimmer, P., Hutt-MacLeod, D., Levasseur, M.A#., Chandrasena, R., Rousseau, C., Torrie, J., Etter, M., Vallianatos, H., Abbaji, A., Bighead, S., MacKinnon, A., & Malla A.K. (2019). A minimum evaluation protocol and stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial of ACCESS Open Minds, a large Canadian youth mental health services transformation project. BMC Psychiatry. 19(1): 273. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-019-2232-2 # Family partner with lived experience. 
  10. Jordan, G., Malla, A., & Iyer, S.N (2019). "It's brought me a lot closer to who I am": A mixed methods study of posttraumatic growth and positive change following a first episode of psychosis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10:480. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00480 
  11. Maraj, A., Mustafa, S., Joober, R., Malla, A., Shah, J., & Iyer, S.N.  (2019). Caught in the "NEET trap": The intersection between youth NEET status and disengagement from an early intervention service for psychosis.  Psychiatric Services. 70(4):302-308. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201800319.  Selected as editor’s choice
  12. Gariépy, G., & Iyer, S. #(2018). The mental health of young Canadians who are not working or in school. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 64(5):338-344. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743718815899
  13. MacDonald, K., Fainman-Adelman, N., Anderson, K. K., & Iyer, S. N. (2018). Pathways to Mental Health Services for young people: A Systematic Review. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 53(10): 1005-1038. doi: 10.1007/s00127-018-1578-y Invited Review 
  14. Levasseur, M. A*, Ferrari, M., McIlwaine, S., & Iyer, S.N. (2018). Peer-driven family support services in the context of first-episode psychosis: Participant perceptions from a Canadian early intervention programme. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. 13(2):335-341. https://doi.org/10.1111/eip.12771 *Family partner with lived experience #Senior author 
  15. Malla, A., Iyer, S., McGorry, P., Cannon, M., Coughlan, H., Singh, S., ... & Joober, R. (2016). From early intervention in psychosis to youth mental health reform: a review of the evolution and transformation of mental health services for young people. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 51(3), 319-326.
  16. Iyer, S.N. , Boksa, P., Lal, S., Shah, J., Marandola, G., Jordan, G., Doyle, M., Joober, R., & Malla, A.K. (2015). Transforming youth mental health: A Canadian perspective. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine (Special Focus on Youth Mental Health: International Perspectives). 32(1):51-60. https://doi.org/10.1017/ipm.2014.89 
  17. Iyer, S.N., Jordan, G., MacDonald, K., Joober, R., & Malla, A. (2015). Early intervention for psychosis: A Canadian perspective. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 203(5):356-364.        DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000288 

Srividya N. Iyer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and an Associate Member of the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is a licensed psychologist and a Researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychosis (PEPP) in Montreal. She is a member of McGill’s Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, its Global Mental Health Program, and its Indigenous Special Interest Group.  Dr. Iyer is part of the steering committee for the Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre.

She leads ACCESS Open Minds, a pan-Canadian network of 250+ diverse stakeholders that is seeking to transform mental healthcare for urban, rural, Indigenous, post-secondary and homeless youths across Canada.

Dr. Iyer has been contributing to several other youth- and early intervention-focused services, research, and capacity-building efforts in Canada and globally, especially in India, where she was born, completed her initial training in psychology and worked as the sole psychologist in one of the world’s busiest public hospitals. Dr. Iyer is committed to helping ensure equitable mental healthcare access and outcomes to underserved populations such as Indigenous youths, visible and linguistic minority youths, homeless youths, youths in low- and middle-income countries and looked-after youths.

In addition to a thematic focus on early intervention and youth mental health, Dr. Iyer’s program of research reflects her interests in using multiple quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods; engaging diverse stakeholders, particularly youth and family service users; implementation science; and building sustainable, collaborative clinical and research capacity within community contexts.

As a psychologist, Dr. Iyer gained assessment and treatment experience in India, the United States, and Canada. Her interests are in the design and delivery of mental health services and learning health systems; cognitive-behavioral therapy; mindfulness-based approaches; clinical supervision; and program leadership.

Dr. Iyer enjoys mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research associates, research-track residents, and other trainees. She is available for research supervision of students in the fields of applied social science, psychology, social work, psychiatry, public health, global health, and epidemiology.


Year

Institution

Prize

2017 – 2024 Royal Society of Canada Inducted into the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists
2017 – 2018 Maude Abbott Prize (female faculty with outstanding contributions to research) Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
2017 – 2018

McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Emerging Researchers
2018 Canadian Women leaders in Global Health Named on the inaugural list of Canadian Women leaders in Global Health
2021 International Association for Youth Mental Health Named Vice-President

Research associates

Sally Mustafa, PhD
Valerie Noel, PhD
Kathleen Charlebois, PhD

Post-doctoral fellow

Gerald Jordan, PhD, Post-doctoral fellow

PhD candidates

Kathleen MacDonald - McGill University
Helen Martin - McGill University
Salome Xavier - McGill University
Ruben Valle - McGill University
Roxanne Sicotte - University of Montreal

MSc student

Neha Nair - McGill University

Support staff

Kevin MacDonald, Research Coordinator for overall research program (kevin.macdonald@douglas.mcgill.ca)
Sabrina Latorre, Administrative Assistant (sabrina.latorre.comtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca)

 

Dr. Iyer's team also includes staff at the PEPP program and at ACCESS Open Minds, both located at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. Please visit the PEPP-Montreal and ACCESS Open Minds websites for a detailed listing of team members.

Dr. Iyer collaborates with several local, national, and international researchers and other stakeholders (service users, families, service providers, decision-and policy-makers) on research related to youth mental health and early intervention for psychosis. At the Douglas, she collaborates with Drs. Manuela Ferrari, Jai Shah, Patricia Boksa, Ridha Joober, Eric Latimer, Martin Lepage, Mallar Chakravarty, and Shalini Lal.


Recent publications