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Inaugural Mental Health Partners Research Retreat brings together hospital, community and government to drive impact

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The inaugural Mental Health Partners (MHP) Research Retreat took place on Friday, May 31, 2024 in person at CAMH. Under the leadership of Dr. Bernard Le Foll, vice president, research and academics/chief scientific officer at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and chair, Mental Health Partners Research Committee, the day brought together nine of the specialty psychiatric hospitals, government and community partners at CAMH to identify research priorities across the MHP organizations to drive collective impact. Close to 50 participants were in attendance, with some meeting in person for the first time. Dr. Aristotle Voineskos, vice president, research at CAMH and host started the day with a Land Acknowledgment. 

The MHP Research Committee was established to support and advance research, innovation and care across and between MHP organizations and position MHP’s collective research capacity to support the Government of Ontario, Ontario Health (OH) and the OH Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence in building a comprehensive mental health and substance use system of care for people across the province. 

The Research Committee aims to collaborate, share resources, expertise and information amongst the MHP sites and with other partners across the system to advance mental health and addictions research. 

The World Café method was used to facilitate collaborative discussions on each of the four theme areas that were identified as priority system issues and ones that could potentially benefit from a provincial collaborative effort: 

  • Restraint/seclusion
  •  Suicide reduction/prevention
  • Harm reduction 
  • Housing/homelessness

A World Café is a simple methodology for hosting conversations about questions that matter. The conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are being discussed. 

The discussions generated unique insights into where MHP should focus its collective efforts for each priority area.

To level set the conversations, content experts briefly presented on each topic area – highlighting current and emerging opportunities, opening it up for robust group discussion and giving good food for thought for consideration during the World Café. Our content experts were:

  • Dr. Phil Klassen, vice president, medical affairs and research, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Restraint/seclusion)
  • Dr. Randi McCabe, interim vice president, mental health and addictions and Dr. Maiko Schneider, head of service, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (Suicide reduction/prevention)
  • Dr. Bernard Le Foll, vice president, research and academics/chief scientific officer at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (Harm reduction) 
  • Dr. David Rudoler, research chair, population health and innovation in mental health, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Housing/homelessness) 

Dr. Christopher Canning, director, research and academics, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, discussed the importance of patient-centred research in forensic settings. 

The morning discussions and afternoon World Café session produced a rich base of ideas and options for potential collaboration. All of this input will be collated and used to inform a plan moving forward. The goal was also to identify one area of priority focus to test the concept of this research collaboration. Following the World Café session, the majority of attendees selected “Suicide Prevention/Reduction” as an initial research priority for MHP.  

The MHP Research Committee will be convening a working group over the coming months to define a research question for this topic, to look at the other inputs received across all four topics and to plan for activation across the MHP organizations. 
We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress as we turn insights into impact!

Mental Health Partners Group Photo

About MHP 

Mental Health Partners are a collective of the province’s specialized hospital providers of mental health and substance use care. Together, we are providing leadership in building a system that is integrated, evidence based and accountable. We do this by mobilizing our collective strengths in innovation, infrastructure, clinical interventions, research and education so Ontarians with the most complex mental health and substance use conditions can have better outcomes.

MHP include nine psychiatric hospital providers across Ontario: 

  • CAMH
  • North Bay Regional Health Centre  
  • Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences 
  • Providence Care 
  • Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre 
  • St. Joseph's Care Group 
  • St. Joseph's Health Care London 
  • St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton 
  • Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care 
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