One in five of us will experience mental illness in our lifetime.
The problem is widespread, but prejudice and fear still prevent many people from seeking help. As a result, the effects can be catastrophic on families and friends. But there is hope for recovery.
Our mission is to provide the highest levels of patient care, to undertake research on potential new treatments for the most severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses and to educate the next generation of healers.
The Mental Health Mission includes the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology. They work together to offer services for patients suffering from complex mental conditions and illnesses.
45,000 Out-Patients visits/year
500 In-Patient admissions
An average of close to 3000 psychiatric consults in the Emergency Department.
Trainees include 35 psychiatric residents, 35 psychology interns and others from various disciplines
“Thanks to the support of the MGH Foundation, the Mental Health Mission is able to offer specialized care to a greater number of patients. In addition, we are able to receive them in a more welcoming space. Moreover, we are pushing the envelope to improve therapeutic techniques and the organization of care delivery. Among other things, we have launched the remarkable Centre for Precision Psychiatry, which is collating phenomenological, biological, brain imaging and treatment progression data so that we will ultimately be better able to predict which specific treatment will be effective for which patient at which time. I consider all donors as part of our team, together we are transforming mental health little by little. Thank you so much!”
Dr. Karine J. Igartua, Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Mental Health Mission
New Donor-Funded Projects
The new MGH Centre for Precision Psychiatry, led by Dr. Simon Ducharme: Firstly, the goal is to collect clinical information, biological samples and brain imaging on consenting patients. This will enable the creation of a long-term, open science, trans-diagnostic psychiatric database of consistent data. As a result, it will build prediction models of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment response for mental illness.
The Avatar Project: Avatar Therapy is a new approach in which patients dialogue with a digital representation (an avatar) of their perceived persecutor, voiced by their therapist. Using the avatar, the therapist helps patients to respond appropriately to the unwanted voices they hear. This approach has proven to reduce the severity of such hallucinations. Led by Dr. Gail Myhr, Director of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Unit, the team has begun the development of a smartphone Avatar Therapy App. As a result, therapy may proceed without the need for dedicated spaces and expensive equipment. Above all, this new app will make Avatar Therapy widely available to any therapist working with this challenging population.
Code Life Interview: Mental Health
Jacqueline Angus Psychiatric Emergency Department and Brief Intervention Unit – 24 hour Psychiatric Emergency Services, 6 stretchers for psychiatric patients, 8 beds for Brief Intervention Unit and 2 seclusion rooms.
In-Patient Services – 40 acute-care beds, with an interactive program and healing environment that helps patients return to their daily lives as soon as possible.
Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service – Inter professional team providing bedside consultations and follow-ups to all patients hospitalized on medical-surgical wards at the MGH, including Traumatic Brain Injury and Orthopedics. Our service provides liaison in areas such as Traumatic Brain Injury and the Pain Clinic.
McGill University Sexual Identity Centre (MUSIC) – Provides specialized care to individuals, couples and families with sexual orientation or gender issues. In addition, MUSIC works to enhance the health of the larger community through research, education, outreach and advocacy around the destructive effects of homophobia and transphobia.
Anxiety Disorders Program – Provides specialized treatment for those with severe, longstanding or complex anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and phobias.
Clinical Psychopharmacology and Therapeutics Unit (CPTU) – Provides consultations to patients to help improve their treatment. Moreover, the unit is actively engaged in research, consisting of clinical trials of new medications to treat severe and persistent mental illness.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is one of the most effective, evidence- based psychotherapies in the treatment of emotional distress, anxiety, depression, simple phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This Unit is currently involved in research in the treatment of phobias with virtual reality.
First Episode Psychosis Program (PEPP) – provides early intervention, specialized care and rehabilitation for individuals with first-episode psychotic disorders. This program focuses on first-episode psychosis (PEPP), as research indicates that the best outcomes stem from early interventions. Learn more about the PEPP.
Mood Disorders Program – Provides specialized care to people with mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder with a focus on complex, treatment-resistant patients.
Personality Disorders Program – Offers treatment for a variety of personality disorders, including Borderline Personality Disorder, by a specialized team with expertise in this challenging field. Our team includes world-renowned experts in this field.
Recovery Transition Program –Trains patients to become peer mentors, providing them with a sense of dignity and purpose as well as giving them the tools to mentor patients through the recovery process. Learn more about this program.