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.

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.

Primary researchers

Mallar Chakravarty, PhD Mallar Chakravarty

Computational brain anatomy

Carl Ernst Carl Ernst

Genetic and epigenetic variation associated with neurodevelopmental disorders

Natalie Grizenko, MD Natalie Grizenko

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder research

Mimi Israel, MD, MSc Mimi Israel

Eating disorders

Srividya N. Iyer

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

Ridha Joober, MD, PhD Ridha Joober

Genetics and pharmacogenetics of psychiatric disorders, Youth mental health and early intervention in psychotic disorders

Sherif Karama, MD, PhD Sherif Karama

Genetic and environmental effects on brain development across the lifespan and corollary impacts on cognition

Martin Lepage, PhD Martin Lepage

CRISP group: Comprehensive research into schizophrenia and psychosis

Ashok Malla, MD, FRCPC Ashok Malla

First Episode, High Risk for Psychosis and Early Intervention and ACCESS Open Minds

Romina Mizrahi, MD, PhD Romina Mizrahi
Lena Palaniyappan
Rachel Rabin, PhD Rachel Rabin

Neurocognitive and social cognitive function in individuals with substance use disorders and co-morbid psychiatric illness

Pablo Rusjan

Molecular Imaging, Positron Emission Tomography, Kinetic Modeling of PET radioligands, Clinical applications of PET in neuroscience, neurology and psychiatry

Jai Shah Jai Shah

Early intervention, first episode psychosis, at-risk mental states, youth mental health, clinical staging in psychiatry

Howard Steiger

Eating Disorders Program

Associated researchers

Marie-Josée Fleury

Organisation and adequacy of mental health services

Cecilia Flores

Adolescent brain development and susceptibility to psychopathology

Suzanne King, PhD Suzanne King

Role of prenatal maternal stress in the development of psychopathology

Eric Latimer

Mental health policy and economic evaluation

Johanne Renaud Johanne Renaud

Youth suicide and suicidal behaviours



On May 10, 2022, Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbons, on behalf of the Ministère de l'économie et de l'innovation (MEI), announced the 51 projects that are being funded through their special call for technological and social innovative projects. In total, the MEI is investing $17M to support the development of exciting projects in a variety of areas, including aging, working...


Dr. Holly Carsley Memorial Award

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Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives has announced the projects selected to receive this year's Neuro Commercialization Ignite Grants. These grants aim to support small-scale...



Congratulations to Dr. Geneviève Sauvé, who was just awarded funding from FRQSC for her project, CERVEAUX@TRAVAIL; an innovative research approach to promote psychological health in the workplace for individuals living with ADHD.

The funding was awarded in the context of a special initiative...


Commonly considered the most severe mental illness, approximately 370 000 Canadians live with schizophrenia. Debilitating symptoms of the illness can include hallucinations such as hearing voices, troubling delusional beliefs, social withdrawal and impairment in cognitive functioning. These symptoms combine to gravely impact social and occupational functioning, well-being and quality of life....


Congratulations to Drs. Romina Mizrahi and Jai Shah, who were recognized by the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) this month! 

Dr. Mizrahi was elected by her peers to the SIRS Board for a 4-year appointment, commencing April 7, 2022.

Dr. Shah was named the 2022 Research Excellence...


We are pleased to announce the recruitment of Dr. Lena Palaniyappan as the new Monique H. Bourgeois Chair, offered through the François Bourgeois Foundation. In addition to becoming a Researcher at the Douglas Research Centre, he joins us as the Inaugural Director of the Centre for Youth Mental Health Service Innovation, Research, and Training (to...


Drs. Martin Lepage and Manuela Ferrari cited in The Montrealer.


Congratulations to all of our researchers whose projects were funded through CIHR's latest Project Grants competition!

  • Simon Ducharme

Congratulations to Drs. Manuela Ferrari and Martin Lepage, who each received one of five prestigious awards through the Bell Let’s Talk-Brain Canada Mental Health Research Program. This program, which is funded through a partnership between Bell Canada and Brain Canada/Health Canada, provided a total of $4,190,000 to support outstanding research teams who...