The Douglas Institute will contribute to the hope to save lives

The Douglas Mental Health University Institute announced the creation of the Standard Life Centre for Breakthroughs in Teen Depression and Suicide Prevention. Standard Life will invest one million dollars into this centre, which will be directed by child psychiatrist Dr. Johanne Renaud. The Centre’s mission will be to improve youth’s access to mental health services and evaluate the efficacy of different treatments for depression and prevention methods for depression and suicide in Canadian youth. This gift from Standard Life is the largest corporate investment in Canada dedicated entirely to prevention of depression and suicide in Canadian youth.

Suicide is the second leading cause of mortality among Canadian teenagers – following road accidents – and it is an important public health issue. It affects hundreds of families each year. Depression is a factor involved in more than 70 % of cases of youth suicide. Depression will affect approximately 17 % of adolescents at some point before they reach adulthood.

The work that will be carried out by the Standard Life Centre will not only benefit the young patients of the Douglas, but also many adolescents throughout Canada.

Reinforcing existing methods to save lives

Throughout the world, researchers, clinicians, and other health professionals, along with community workers, school administrators and others, are confronted with the challenge posed by adolescent depression and suicide. “It’s not about reproducing what is already in place or adding methods of intervention, but about using scientific rigour to establish which existing methods are most effective in preventing depression and suicide in youth. Then, it will be about determining how these interventions, treatments, or therapies can benefit patients in other places in order to reduce the overall rate of depression and suicide in youth,” said Johanne Renaud, child psychiatrist at the Douglas Institute and the Director of the Standard Life Centre.

“Thanks to existing communication channels, the Standard Life Centre would be able to distribute scientifically-validated educational materials to anyone who could make good use of them. The Centre could also offer training workshops to health care providers, community organizations, and other partners,” added Dr. Renaud, whose expertise on youth depression is sought-after around the world.

Developing their full potential to live life to the fullest

Jane Lalonde, the President of the Douglas Institute Foundation, specifies that “we have to act now so that youth can develop their full potential and live life to the fullest. The quicker an adolescent receives appropriate care, the greater his or her chances of recovery”. Usually, there are eight or ten years between the onset of symptoms and the first intervention. “Eight of ten years represent a very long time in the life of a child.” Thanks to this important gift from Standard Life—the largest corporate gift strictly designated to preventing depression and suicide in youth—the Centre will be able to fulfill its mission. “I would like to publically express my gratitude to Standard Life for choosing to invest in young healthy minds.”

“Through our community investment program, Standard Life supports several projects that improve the well-being of Canadian youth. An essential component of this well-being is mental health. For us, this investment represents the hope that we can find scientifically-validated solutions that will ultimately help the greatest possible number of young people,” stated Joseph Iannicelli, President and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Life in Canada.

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Photo one: Jane Lalonde, President and Chief Operating Officer, Douglas Institute Foundation; Joseph Iannicelli, President and Chief Executive Officer, Standard Life; Dr. Johanne Renaud, Medical Chief, Youth section, Depressive Disorders Program, Douglas Institute and Director of Standard Life Center; Sophie Fortin, Senior Vice-President, People and Communications, Standard Life; and Michel Dalton, Director General by interim, Douglas Institute.

Photo two: Dr. Johanne Renaud during the press conference to announce the gift

Photo three: Mr. Iannicelli, President and CEO of Standard Life, being interviewed by CTV News.

Photo Credits: Raja Ouali / Biouvac Studio