The Douglas Foundation is proud to launch its campaign message as part of the Building Hope Movement, an awareness initiative to support research and patient care at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute which takes place from October 10 to 31, 2023.

Centered around Marie-Ève’s testimonial ​​who suffers from a schizoaffective disorder, the campaign encourages everyone to take action on issues of mental illness by making a donation to support cutting-edge research carried out at the Douglas Institute. Each donation represents a building block that builds hope for all those whose lives have been affected by mental illness.

“Building Hope – The movement is a way of giving ourselves the means to improve the mental health of everyone by supporting research at the Douglas. We are the most underfunded sector of the public health system, both privately and publicly. It’s time for a change,” says Laura Fish, President and CEO of the Douglas Foundation.

View the campaign message

Client: Douglas Foundation
Production: Moonstruhk
Director: Mathieu Grimard
Media: Challenge Media

Each year the Integrated Services for Indigenous Communities (ISIC) program receives over 110 Indigenous patients in need of hospitalization for acute mental health support.

The ISIC program operates in partnership with the Cree Board of Health and Social Services (CBHSS) as well as the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS), and strives to provide culturally appropriate mental health support (hospitalization and psychiatric follow-ups) for Indigenous people experiencing severe mental health challenges that cannot access care within their home community.

During hospitalization, patients receive clinical support from Canada’s leading psychiatric service providers, but a key challenge is providing a therapeutic environment for healing that aligns with Indigenous cultures within the walls of a hospital.

Support from the Bank of Montreal and TELUS Friendly Future Foundation is aiding our efforts to provide tailored support to Indigenous patients on their journey to wellness. They made it possible for us to provide over 600 traditional food and meals in partnership with Cree and Inuit community members and organizations located in Montreal, offering patients a taste of home during their stay at the Douglas.

In addition to providing traditional Indigenous meals, we endeavoured to make the Douglas a space that feels safe and welcoming for Indigenous patients. To this end, we commissioned two pieces from renowned Ojibway artist Thomas Sinclair. With these projects, among others, we hope to create a home away from home, and build hope for Indigenous patients in a way that values their culture, customs, and healing traditions.

The Douglas Foundation launches the 2022 edition of Building Hope – The movement, a provincial awareness initiative to support research on mental health and patient care at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. 

Centered around the testimonial of Magalie who suffers from a borderline personality disorder, the campaign encourages the population to take action in the face of mental illness problems by making a donation to the organization or by sharing content available on their social platforms during the month of October.

The most recent data by the Government of Canada shows that one in three Canadians will be affected by a mental illness during their lifetime. Building Hope – The movement hopes to inspire people to take action by showing the true face of mental illness that goes beyond staggering statistics.

According to Laura Fish, President and CEO of the Douglas Foundation, “Magalie’s testimonial reminds us that psychiatric disorders are our collective responsibility, that we must build hope for these individuals whose lives have been affected by mental illness. The pandemic has shown the crucial needs that exist on many levels, whether we are thinking of funding research that allows us to improve the treatments that are offered or access to mental health care.”

Desjardins Group is joining the campaign and will match every donation made to the Foundation by October 31, up to a combined total of $50,000. Mental health is a major challenge for our society, and we’re facing increasingly urgent needs in research and direct patient care. Our support will help people who really need it and also contribute to advancing mental health research and care, said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.

The Douglas Institute observed an overall increase of 69% in the number of mental health requests for services at the Douglas over the last ten years before the COVID-19 pandemic. An upward trend that puts pressure on the clinical services and super-specialized programs developed at the Douglas Institute, some of which are offered throughout Quebec.

Despite a situation that may be worrisome, Dr. Gustavo Turecki, Scientific Director of the Douglas Research Center and Chief of Psychiatry at the CIUSSS Montreal West Island wants to be reassuring: “We have unique clinical expertise here at the Douglas that allows us to make discoveries that will improve people’s lives and enable them to recover.” According to the specialist, one of the obstacles to the deployment of scientific advances in mental health remains funding. “We need more resources to enhance our existing services and programs and deliver them to more people in need,” he says.

For Ms. Fish, the most important thing is that the campaign succeeds in touching the hearts of people and emboldens them to take action. “We need to highlight the importance of research to build hope for our patients and those who need help, but I think our greatest strength this year is to showcase real people like Magalie who tell us how mental health care and medication have changed their lives,” she concludes.

Building Hope – The movement will be held from October 10 to 31, 2022. It is possible to join the campaign by making a donation on the Douglas Foundation’s website or by sharing the content published on their social platforms throughout the month of October.

To watch Magalie’s testimonial:

The Douglas Foundation team would like to thank the great generosity of Let’s Bond for the funds raised to support the care of young patients with mental illnesses at the Douglas.

This year, more than $190,000 was raised with their 2022 edition of the The Derby, a high-level sporting event presented by Desjardins that puts young professionals from various fields to the test against each other.

Let’s Bond is a Montreal collective of 50 socially involved young professionals that raises funds for organizations that work more concretely in mental health. Over the past ten years, the collective has managed to raise more than $2 million, which has been donated mainly to the Fondation Jeunes en Tête and the Douglas Foundation.

So thank you once again to the Let’s Bond collective for helping the Douglas build hope for all those whose lives are turned upside down by mental illness.

This year, the Mind on Health Challenge has a fundraising objective of $85,000 to support research and care at the Douglas Institute, which is $35,000 more than last year.

Marie-Hélène Thibeault, who is the founder and ambassador of the event, believes that it is now essential to act in the face of what many call the “second pandemic”, that is to say the marked resurgence of the need for mental health resources in Quebec and Canada. She brings up some rather concerning recent statistics:

  • 35% of salaried people in Canada say they are burnt out.
  • One in five workers feels in crisis or is worried about their ability to cope with the situation.
  • At least 30% of short-term and long-term disability claims in the country are attributable to mental illnesses or mental health-related issues.

Marie-Hélène, who firmly defends the benefits of physical activity on mental health, believes that the Mind on Health Challenge is a perfect opportunity for families, individuals and businesses to talk openly and proactively about mental health and create opportunities for empathetic dialogues to break taboos, while raising funds to support research at the Douglas.

Therefore, inspired by the theme of “reaching your peak for mental health”, the sports challenge invites donors to register individually or form a team to take up a challenge of their choice during the Thanksgiving weekend, including the possibility of climbing a summit of a ski resort.

So far, twenty-two mountains have confirmed their participation in the initiative, namely Mont-Orford, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Stoneham, Owl’s Head, Vallée Bleue, Mont Adstock, Baie des Sables, Mont Sutton, Bromont, Mont Rigaud, Centre de plein air de Lévis, Massif du Sud, Mont Avalanche, Mont Blanc, Mont Habitant, Mont La Tuque, the Ski Montcalm station, the Val Saint-Côme ski station, the Park of Mont-Bellevue, Mont Grand-Fonds, the Saint-Bruno ski station and La Réserve Ski station.

To register for the Mental Health Challenge and build hope for mental health, click here.

The Open Minds ’22 campaign dedicated to our front line workers has raised more than 305,500$ in donations.

Because of the current pandemic, the Douglas has faced severe staff shortages, exhaustion and extreme pressure. All along the sanitary crisis, the Douglas Institute treated the majority of Quebec mental health patients who contracted Covid-19.

Nevertheless, the Open Minds campaign has been able to raise more than 305,500$ in donations to support the front line workers and has permitted many patients to regain their dignity and their reason for living.

We would like to thank our exceptional organizing committee and our generous partners for this accomplished mission:

  • Our gold partners: RBC et Intact Assurances
  • Our silver partners: Métro, BDC, Nova Steel, David Forest Financial Services et Fiera Capital
  • Our bronze partners: Bell Canada, Canderel, SAQ, PWL Capital et McCarthy Tétrault.

Because of you, we can continue to build hope for all those whose lives have been affected by mental illness. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

More than $159,000 were raised for the second edition of the Building Hope Tournament, an esport competition that brings together hockey players, celebrities and gamers to raise awareness on mental health problems.

This year, the Building Hope Tournament was proudly presented by La Cage Chez Vous. Hosted by Richard Turcotte, the livestream allowed us to reunite hockey and esport enthusiasts, as well as tens of thousands of audience members who care about the cause of mental health.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship from La Cage, our participants and celebrities were treated to a tailor-made gourmet menu to give them strength for the competition, which turned out to be quite fierce. Congratulations to Billy Karaoke’s team for winning this year’s tournament and fighting until the end to give us a thrilling finale.

Live musical performances were also on the agenda to spice things up for everyone who was present, virtually or in person: a big thank you to Sasseville, Radio Radio, Taktika and L’Orchestre Pèse-Start.

We would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary support from Beneva, Fairstone and EY who contributed in making this event such a success. We hope to see you next year for another memorable tournament in support of the Douglas Foundation.

To watch the livestream, click here.

We spoke with Marie-Hélène Thibeault, organizer of the Mind on Health Challenge, to learn more about the reasons behind her commitment to mental health and her collaboration with the Douglas Foundation.

What motivated you to launch the Mind on Health Challenge?

“I wanted to help to advance research and improve mental health care so that no one has to suffer in silence. Since the death of my husband Eric after a long battle against a bipolar disorder that led to his suicide, I made it my mission to support the cause so that our story does not repeat itself. I am a person who strongly believes in the benefits of physical activity for mental health so the idea of ​​mobilizing people as part of a sports challenge for the benefit of mental health really seemed like an ideal fit.” (Discover Marie-Hélène’s powerful testimonial)

Why did you choose to collaborate with the Douglas Foundation?

 “Eric strongly believed in the importance of scientific discoveries in helping to alleviate the suffering caused by mental illness. It was important for me to be able to concretely support an institution that has a lasting and positive impact in this way. The Douglas Institute is a national leader in this field and the idea of ​​providing them with more resources to accelerate and amplify their efforts inspired me greatly.”

According to you, why is it so important to support research?

“The human brain is a complex organ that still houses many mysteries. Science and research are essential to unveil all of its intricacies. By supporting research in neuroscience, we will inevitably make gains in our understanding of the brain that will allow us to increase the quality and effectiveness of the treatments and care that are offered in mental health. Scientific discoveries play an essential part in guiding us towards a better world!”

The Mind on Health Challenge is a virtual or in-person sports challenge to raise funds and support research on mental health at the Douglas Institute. The event takes place on October 9-10 as part of World Mental Health Day. To donate to the event or to participate, click here.