Youth Mental Health and Early Intervention

Leader: Ridha Joober, MD, PhD

The YMHEI group consists of researchers working on mental health problems of youth including not only diagnosed conditions (psychotic disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, ADHD and other externalizing disorders, autism, and substance use disorders), but also high-risk conditions with a specific emphasis on prevention and early intervention.
This group takes a population-based approach aimed at identifying/researching the whole spectrum of risk and resilience factors leading to mental disorders, with the goal of translating findings into preventive and therapeutic interventions. Our motto is ‘improving care through research’ as already demonstrated through several well-established clinical programs (e.g. PEPP- Montreal, eating disorders, ADHD) and major clinical research projects (ACCESS Open Minds). We aim  to  include patients and their families in the design, implementation, and scaling-up research. We prioritize an integrated approach of identification of biomarkers for risk or disease states, outcomes, or response to treatments based on sophisticated imaging, physiological, and molecular techniques.

Primary Researchers

Patricia Boksa Neurobiology of schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders
Mallar Chakravarty Computational brain anatomy
Carl Ernst Genetic and epigenetic variation associated with neurodevelopmental disorders
Natalie Grizenko Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Mimi Israel Eating disorders
Srividya Iyer Youth mental health and early intervention for psychosis, in Canada and beyond
Ridha Joober Genetics and pharmacogenetics of psychiatric disorders, Youth mental health and early intervention in psychotic disorders
Sherif Karama Genetic and environmental effects on brain development across the lifespan and corollary impacts on cognition
Martin Lepage Comprehensive research into schizophrenia and psychosis
Ashok Malla First Episode, High Risk for Psychosis and Early Intervention (PEPP-Montréal) and ACCESS Open Minds (youth mental health service transformation and evaluation)
Rachel Rabin Neurocognitive and social cognitive dysfunction in individuals with substance use disorders
Howard Steiger Eating disorders
Jai Shah Early intervention, first episode psychosis, at-risk mental states, youth mental health, clinical staging in psychiatry


Associated Researchers


Marie-Josée Fleury Organisation and adequacy of mental health services
Cecilia Flores Adolescent brain development and susceptibility to psychopathology
Suzanne King Role of prenatal maternal stress in the development of psychopathology
Eric Latimer Mental health policy and economic evaluation
Johanne Renaud Youth suicide and suicidal behaviours


Research Program

The objectives of our program are:

  1. Identifying early risk /resilience factors, many of them have already been identified and are being studied by members of our group
  2. Study and understand the mechanisms by which these factors lead to symptoms and dysfunction
  3. Translate this knowledge into innovative preventive and therapeutic approaches.